Friday Squid Blogging: SQUID Acronym for Making Conscious Choices

I think the U is forced:

SQUID consists of five steps: Stop, Question, Understand, Imagine, and Decide.

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 August 12, 2022 at 4:06 PM93 Comments


Dancing On Thin Ice August 13, 2022 7:19 AM

Has anyone else noticed some weirdness in how this site loads lately? It started a few weeks ago.
Parts are scrambled or covered with white or black boxes
The comment form blanks out some letters.

Peter August 13, 2022 7:43 AM

From the article:
“Whenever you notice a stressful situation, practicing the 5 steps of SQUID can help you feel less helpless by enabling you to make better decisions.”

Now that is brilliantly useful advice to a number of current international political hotheads.
Would it help though? 🙂

Nick Levinson August 13, 2022 12:01 PM

@Clive Robinson & @Klaus Schmeh:

@Clive Robinson:

One point only: Entrapment is probably unavailable as a defense in court in U.S. law unless, in approximate terms, the defendant during the events in question had some kind of reasonable ground to believe that someone doing the entrapping is a law enforcement officer or acting on behalf of one. In this case, I don’t think the affidavit addresses that possibility (at least I don’t recall it being mentioned); it will have to be raised by the defendant, and that’s unlikely before being arrested. Not every undercover operation in which the undercover operative suggests a bombing, supplies target information, delivers bomb material, pays money for the dirty deed, and helps carry things for bombing is entrapment. If the prosecution establishes concealment of of law enforcement’s role in the events, it’s likely the burden of proof of entrapment will effectively be on the defendant, otherwise no undercover case could be won and investigations like that probably could never be set up when they should be. Juries generally expect people to know not to bomb things; that’s why the undercover help is not total, but leaves critical initiative to the actor who may be a future defendant.

@Klaus Schmeh:

I can’t read German and a dialog box is in front, so I can’t read either the article or the home page (that I guess is yours) and I’m not clicking a button the meaning of which I don’t know or taking the time to run through Google Translate. If you have an English version (and this isn’t just an off-point promotion), please link to it.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons August 13, 2022 12:02 PM

@ Clive

Thus also having the “human interest” of Meng Wanzhou in the mix would enable much anti-US rhetoric to be oh so easily generated and go running around the world gathering significant sympathy[1].

Ever once and a while you throw something out that hits me squarely, between what I will not tell, and I have to add something to your Klein Group, or at least your calculus.
Add to the “mix” the oil client state to China, Russia, and it becomes abundantly obvious that the forces in play are a double mirror, with the security apparatus of the polar struggle leveraging all their relationships and resources to change the polar configuration–quite possibly a uni-polar reconfiguration.

And, the crucifixion of Julian Assange must end. There will be an accounting, we will never forget the people and forces that are responsible for putting him to the cross, ever.

SpaceLifeForm August 13, 2022 12:08 PM

@ Dancing On Thin Ice

re: Display glitches

I have not seen any, on multiple devices, so I would suspect your video card is failing. Check for heat problems also.

Clive Robinson August 13, 2022 12:58 PM

@ name.withheld…,

Re : The names that dare not be spoken.

“Add to the “mix” the oil client state to China…”

Yes it is in my calculus, but at the moment the mear mention attracts much attention by “find and fix” wanting to finish their way under bridge dwelling types, from east of Europe. Which leads to disapprobation and significant cleansing…

The simple fact is the other name that dare not be mentioned, has a sole purpose and cares not a jot how may corpses it takes to achieve that goal. Not that many who would be effected see any advantage to it. In essence they would be swaping a future of prosperity for the drudgery of serfdom without even the benifits if slavery.

What the idiot fails to see is that soon what it wants will not matter because motality has the last laugh. Then there will be a horrendous vacuum that will be filed by yet more destruction. At some point the sotish belief that a potato based spirt brings about past glories in a maudlin fixation will become clear as just a cruel faux fantasy… When that awakening happens it is unclear as to what will unfold. Previous history suggests a desperate search for yet another faux fantasy of past glory and greatness to believe in, as the brutal reality slips even further from their grasp.

It’s hard to believe, but they have every appearence of being a nation where many people want to be downtrodden, and living a worse than medieval existance because “tradition”…

Winter August 13, 2022 1:48 PM

@Clive et al.

Re : The names that dare not be spoken.

Official nicknames:

1) Poisoner of underwear

2) Winnie the Pooh

3) Small hands

4) Bojo the clown

Should be understandable.

Clive Robinson August 13, 2022 2:46 PM

@ Winter, name.withheld…,


ISO 3166 two letter codes gives


Is pronouncable in a rude way 😉

Yup book me a ticket to the fiery pit, I’m probably now on the way to where snow balls have no chance ={

SpaceLifeForm August 13, 2022 3:23 PM


The humidity was up a bit for Las Vegas standards.



SpaceLifeForm August 13, 2022 4:15 PM

@ Clive, Winter, name....


It reads pretty well in reverse also.

Not as good as this, but still meaningful.


Clive Robinson August 13, 2022 4:56 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : DEFCON Level WX

Man are,you saying it’s a wash out?

Dude that’s the only fun space some of those nerdy types relax in.

But hey… There is a rare phenomenon out there when it serioisly rains in the desert, for a few days it’s nature mayhem as the flora and fauna give it their all for the next generation.

But even rarer if the winds get up the rocks slide around like sail boats…

SpaceLifeForm August 13, 2022 5:41 PM

@ Bruce, ALL

The article you linked to is spot on.

The problem is that those who are brainwashed, will automatically react immediately, without considering the Understand step.

The brainwashed do not want to do the Understand step, because that requires thinking, and it makes their brain hurt.

They have lost their Functioning Frontal Mirror Neurons due to TV and Fox News.

They literally have been brainwashed by media noise. They can no longer think for themselves. They will immediately agree with a talking point, nodding their head in agreement. Fox still remains a National Security Threat.

Others, that are not brainwashed, get put into aversive situations where the brainwashed person is attacking them.

The brainwashed person wants to convince the non-brainwashed person to agree with them and join their cult. They want someone else to agree with them, to reinforce their worldview, so they can feel better.

It is not about Cognitive Dissonance with these people. There is no Cognitive Dissonance to be found because their brain is now locked in. They think they are ‘right’. They can not entertain the possibility that they mav be incorrect.

Everyone needs a Real Life SPAM Filter. To avoid the attack in the first place.

The Cult is toxic, and you must avoid toxic people, for your sanity and health. It is not easy, especially if you have to work with them.

Dancing On Thin Ice August 13, 2022 7:49 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm

Thanks, good hearing from those with better diagnosing skills.
Display issues and running hot are consistant with something I suspected about 3 years ago when some images appeared scrambled but hadn’t changed since then other than this site becoming the only one experiencing this issue.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons August 13, 2022 8:31 PM

Many contributors to this blog have provided valuable references, and sometime are sources to information that is not widely available or documented. In a way, these people are the extended geo-social news and data services not found elsewhere. One has to congratulate Bruce for his willingness and participation in developing such a space. It is the combination of editorial discretion, self policing, and community-based editorializing that makes it possible. It reminds of the early days, when UUNET and other tightly knit communities had less chaff and flare countermeasures in play than today’s so called automated censoring programs and systems.

One good example of what is citizen scientists and life long learners, the pandemic brought a myriad of individuals to the table that offered valuable references. Everything from resources and information from the University of London, Imperial College, Cambridge University to Johns Hopkins, UC Irvine School of Medicine and from some venerable publications such as the Lancet to the New England Journal of Medicine.

With all that said, I am seeing a fundamental shift from; “It is my right to be ignorant and stupid!” to a more sinister form of “It is my right to make you ignorant and stupid!” As this is an anecdotal testament to what seems to be the less obvious operating theory, it is being conveyed down the chain of installed hierarchical systems within the U.S., more specifically at institutions that have divested themselves from the democratic republic of the United States of America. When I have substantive and direct evidence I will pass it on.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons August 13, 2022 8:41 PM

@ Clive
If I am reading your posts correctly, I sense a more poetic and cynical treatment of topics that we both now have been noticing which are in the pan but yet to leap out on fire. We’re close, to my mind a level of militancy will be required to pull the poker from the fire, the point in which a counter movement can succeed has passed–in my estimation–that can act within the institution confines we are familiar with.

What remains tragically comic, it is that those with vested interests seemingly aligned with a movement that at the moment power is seized, will use it to quash every other dilettante and do-gooder they can find. Criminal enterprises have no place for other criminals, or, non-appeasers. Both the competitive and opportunistic drive of malignant individuals will override any sense of shared or participatory enterprise–a kind of malevolent greed of the first order–making them blind to everything, everything but more enrichment and more power.

MarkH August 13, 2022 9:50 PM

@Nick, Clive:

According to DoJ, an entrapment defense must show that the defendant lacked a predisposition to engage in the charged conduct, and that the government acted to induce the defendant’s actions.

A showing of solicitation to commit crime is not sufficient to establish inducement; the defense must show some degree of persuasion or coercion.

Nick’s scenario — in which the defense does not know of government’s role — is rather intriguing. Does anyone know of a case in which the U.S. government appears to have induced conduct leading to prosecution, with its role not yet known at time of trial?

MarkH August 13, 2022 10:00 PM

Most readers will know that a few days ago, U.S. federal law enforcement executed a search warrant at a famous country club and residence.

Apparently, more than one document confiscated in the search was marked TS/SCI (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information).

As I understand the case, such materials are supposed to be under really extreme safeguards, and returned by a designated custodian to an appropriate secure storage area after viewing.

It will be interesting to learn in what manner the security protocols failed, to the extent that material of this kind was long kept in a storeroom on a corridor leading to a swimming pool, where hundreds of people might have gained access to it.

Seems like the old joke about a submarine with a screen door.

Nick Levinson August 13, 2022 10:27 PM

@MarkH & @Clive Robinson:

I don’t, given the definition you (MarkH) give for inducement.

I didn’t mean that the lack of knowledge is at trial. The lack of knowledge has to be during the events giving rise to the arrest (as I wrote above, “during the events in question”). Once the arrest begins, the person who supplied bomb material, etc., can show a badge, and can testify in full uniform at trial, without turning the case into one of entrapment.

I was told this happened: People were driving near an active volcano top and seemed to be inching around up there. A police officer behind them in a car, I assume obviously a police car, got on a bullhorn and said, “Drive with all due caution and ignore the speed limit.” If the drivers had rocketed out of there fast enough for NASA to notice but had slowed to a lawful speed or stopped when they were safely away from an eruption risk and then been ticketed for speeding by a different (or the same) officer, that would have been entrapment (the main difficulty being proof of the command to scram).

ResearcherZero August 13, 2022 11:44 PM

In case anyone is considering removing documents from a secure location, you’re supposed to submit documents to the appropriate agencies for review, and then they must be formally categorized as declassified. This applies to anyone and everyone.

Hence the Mandatory in Mandatory Declassification Review

ResearcherZero August 13, 2022 11:55 PM

@vas pup

All you have to do to get one of those radiation suits is pass all of the selection requirements. You can not take it home with you and throw it in the washing basket unfortunately.

ResearcherZero August 14, 2022 12:06 AM


To remove documents from a secure location you would need a really good distraction. Randomly tearing up documents would also add extra confusion in order to help hide the trail of what you took, and you could perhaps flush a few down the toilet to add to the confusion as to what exactly is missing. This would however render an insanity plea void.

MarkH August 14, 2022 12:53 AM


We seem to have quite different things in mind. I have read or heard about “entrapment” only in cases in which defendants were in some kind of communication with undercover law enforcement officers, and/or informants working for law enforcement.

In such cases, defendants inherently did not have a true understanding of the roles of the government agents they were dealing with.

An identified officer giving information or directives with the effect (or even intention) of setting people up for an infraction of law, would seem to meet the definition for “entrapment by estoppel” which I found on wikipedia.

Jon August 14, 2022 3:13 AM

@ Clive Robinson (et. al.)

During WWII, the Commander in Chief of United States forces in the Pacific, most forces being naval, had to pick another acronym, because nobody liked:


Tatütata August 14, 2022 3:27 AM


Des Rätselschens Lösung in einem Wort: Umsatzsteuerbetrugsbekämpfung 🙂

The Québec finance ministry mandates the installation of a certified tamper-proof transaction recording device at point-of-sale terminals, in particular at bars at restaurants.

Transaction data are sent out in a standardised format from the POS terminal to the device. When they are successfully recorded they are converted to a bitmap, and sent on to the printer. The stuff at the bottom is a bar code signature comprising an signed version of what was recorded. I believe that the UTF16 gibberish is destined for quick visual verification by the tax authority that the receipt wasn’t faked, e.g., when it is claimed as expenses by the patron. I suspect that the essential details of the transaction (date, amount, some digits of the VAT registration number) are entered into some check device, which generates a visual signature for comparison.

Data are downloaded monthly from the device, and annexed to the VAT report filing.

User guide:

For the system to work one must insist on always producing a paper receipt for every transaction. But when the cashier uses a calculator rather than the till to compute the bill, you can bet that nothing will be printed… However the increased prevalence of electronic payments displacing cash transactions reduces this possibility.

This type of solution is also used or considered in Europe, I have a paper somewhere in my stuff from 10+ years ago comparing experiences on both continents. But the continued existence of gigantic EU cross-border carousel VAT fraud systems would be a much lower hanging fruit to pick…

Nick Levinson August 14, 2022 3:34 AM


Entrapment by estoppel is a familiar concept to me but I wasn’t aware of this name for it. I just knew of it as estoppel. Thanks for bringing it up, even though Wikipedia is generally not a reliable source (in Wikipedia’s search box type “WP:USERGENERATED” without quotation marks or space).

Entrapment seems to come up in the news especially often where defendants claim it even though it didn’t happen because, during the alleged events giving rise to the arrest, the people who later became defendants didn’t have reason to believe they were being helped by law enforcement acting undercover as if they were lawbreaking co-conspirators. I don’t even remember a case in which a defendant won on an entrapment defense, although winning likely happened, just not often. Just claiming that they knew all along that the other person was in law enforcement is not enough, since talk is cheap; evidence is needed. I don’t know how the evidence of knowledge during the events in the indictment is introduced, but it would be needed, and there’d have to be a chance for the prosecution to rebut it.

In one organization decades ago, a female had said repeatedly that her boyfriend is a police officer. No one believed her. The organization paid a price for not believing her. I think that was in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. I don’t know what offense was at stake or what happened, but I guess a claim of entrapment, if anyone thought of it, didn’t work, even with a girlfriend’s revelation.

Entrapment does indeed occur “in cases in which defendants were in some kind of communication with undercover law enforcement officers . . . and/or informants working for law enforcement”, specifically during the events giving rise to charges, but whether “defendants . . . did not have a true understanding of the roles of the government agents they were dealing with” is not “inherent[]”. If they knew, on some kind of reasonable ground, that they were dealing with government law enforcement agents, then they may have been entrapped, but they could have been in communication with such officers without having any idea that they were such officers, in which case they were not entrapped.

In the volcano case, if all the police were from one government agency and maybe even if not, the agency or the executive branch in general would have been estopped from enforcing the speeding tickets. That’s likely true even across boundaries. I think we’re agreeing on the volcano case.

Clive Robinson August 14, 2022 5:27 AM

@ MarkH, Nick Levinson,

According to DoJ, an entrapment defense must show that the defendant lacked a predisposition to engage in the charged conduct, and that the government acted to induce the defendant’s actions.

At one point it included a broad definition of “capacity” as well, and indirectly still does in a much narrower sense. That is not having previous convictions or related occupation or education is admissable as part of the defence burden. But it also covered the “Agent provocateur” –French for “inciting agent”– i.e. the Officer OR person associated with the Officer by the defendant, provides assistance to cover the lack of “capacity” by the defendent or uses trickery the defendent can not know is trickery (it’s a knowledge, skills, capability test as much as it is a mental competence test which the DoJ has driven it to).

But also in times past it also applied to Police Officers lying to suspects especially minors to gain incriminating evidence or confession. Something that DoJ and similar personnel faught and eventually succeeded in getting removed. Hence the “Write an I’m sorry letter to the victim” and using it as a signed confession trick still works… Hence the advice of why you should never ever speak to an agent or representative of a government agency directly, only through a legal representative.

Also the meaning of “entrapment” varies from place to place[1], it is derived from the early 1500’s French word “entreper” meaning “trap” or “snare”[2]. Interestingly it does not require a premeditated act to create a trap for it to be entrapment, being negligent and not recognising it as a trap suffices[3].

[1] For instance under English law there is no defence of “entrapment” as the crime was committed. It works the other way around, that is the officers conduct is considered an abuse of process thus any criminal case should be “stayed” as the conduct brings the process into disrepute.

[2] It should be noted that the use of “French” words actually gives a historic perspective on how “entrapment” came into law in various states. Suprising to many is that it’s very modern and in a state of flux. Perhaps the most important as far as US Federal case law was by SCOTUS less than a lifetime ago. Back in 1958 they tried and failed to draw a line with,

“To determine whether entrapment has been established, a line must be drawn between the trap for the unwary innocent and the trap for the unwary criminal.”

There are still two “tests” used for this determination which are,

2.1, Subjective test
2.2, Objective test

As both get shoved back and forth all the time you will need a qualified practicioner in the juresdiction you are in to inform you of the “current” definitions and implications.

[3] The negligent aspect is best described by analogy, and one that was in the news yesterday[4] suffices… That is if you design s
a lift with double doors that work in concert by interlock switches or leavers, of one door in the lift carriage, and one in the lift shaft, as is a normal design. But you make the gap or the design alows the gap between them to be to big, such that for some reason a person or part of a person may get caught between them, then if a person is caught they are “entrapped” and you are technically guilty of entrapment even though that was not your intention. It is the act of building the trap even if it was not intended to be a trap and has similar logic to it as does creating an “attractive nuisance” [which originates from the 1841 Lynch -v- Nurdin case in England. The opinion of the presiding judge that a cart left in the street unattended would attract a child to climb on it and the cart owner should know this thus was liable for the injuries a child who did so and fell suffered]. Thus the agent of the Government or person they use is held or should be held to a higher standard than the person being entrapped by dint of their profession, training and learned knowledge.


Winter August 14, 2022 7:19 AM

@Clive, MarkH, Nick Levinson

According to DoJ, an entrapment defense must show that the defendant lacked a predisposition to engage in the charged conduct, and that the government acted to induce the defendant’s actions.

The idea is, as I understand it, that the police organizes a crime and convinces people who have no inclination to commit a crime to get involved. Say, targeting people in debt. Then, the accused would not have been involved in a crime if they had not been contacted by the police.

The threshold depends on the country. The US seems to consider “criminal” a heritable trait, with a very low threshold.

MarkH August 14, 2022 7:45 AM


… they could have been in communication with such officers without having any idea that they were such officers, in which case they were not entrapped

Incorrect. A defendant relying on a legitimate government authority — even if the information was wrong — can assert entrapment by estoppel.

An entrapment defense is for a case in which a defendant was induced into some conduct by an agent of law enforcement play-acting the role of a criminal conspirator, foreign espionage agent, terrorist etc.

MarkH August 14, 2022 7:50 AM


For a recent example,

United States v. Barta, 776 F.3d 931 (7th Cir. 2015)

Conviction “based on an undercover government sting operation”, overturned on the basis of entrapment.

Defendant (with alleged co-conspirators) was in communication with an undercover FBI agent posing as a “health care consultant,” who the court found to have induced the defendant’s part in a bribery scheme.

Nick Levinson August 14, 2022 12:45 PM

@MarkH, @Clive Robinson, & @Winter:

@MarkH & @Clive Robinson:

Using DoJ for law research has some value and attorneys on both sides of criminal cases agree on most law, but nonetheless DoJ’s views represent one side, not both.


“A defendant relying on a legitimate government authority — even if the information was wrong — can assert entrapment by estoppel.” Yes, but that requires knowledge or at least a reasonable suggestion that the authority relied upon was a “legitimate government authority”, as in the volcano incident, thus not successfully undercover. So, my statement you quoted was correct. The difference is in what the other person knew or reasonably believed. If that difference didn’t exist, then the Iranian in the arrest warrant affidavit in my first post above may have a perfect defense in that he was communicating with an informant or FBI agent who more or less told him it’s okay to try to kill Bolton. But the Iranian was communicating with people who were undercover and he may never have had a clue to who they really were, and in that circumstance he would have no entrapment defense based on legit government authority giving him permission to proceed. In Barta, “[i]n reality the man purporting to be Castro was an undercover FBI agent and there was no corrupt official. But Medrano did not know this, of course, so he approached Castro about making another deal.” Assuming the singular “this” refers to both “undercover” and “no corrupt official”, the defense turned on inducement and not on knowing of the FBI’s role during the meetings.

@Clive Robinson:

Some premeditation or at least intent by the defendant to commit an act that is elemental to the charge is still needed if the executive branch is to deny that it entrapped the defendant.

The U.S. imported English common law ca. 1789 Federally (States’ dates vary) but then developed it separately from the English; and imported French civil code law only into Louisiana and shaped it within U.S. law, including common law.

I doubt a difference of standards is an appropriate consideration when distinguishing between the undercover law person and the potentially criminal actor. The law person who is an average informant has far less training and experience than does an average professional officer, and that affects the quality of their infiltrative work, but probably makes little difference when judging later if entrapment took place. The suspect actor’s capacity must be enough to establish having enough knowledge for intent during the events.

Criminal cases in which entrapment is alleged (or even isn’t) aren’t usually brought against a young unattended child, as a jury would rarely agree on their having the requisite intent. Young children have handled bombs when they looked like candy and prosecuting such a child for possession would be a waste. If the disguise was crude enough, an adult should not have been fooled and then could be prosecuted for possession even when a child could not be.


That’s provided the role of the police as such is hidden from the actor who may later be charged. Also, the actor cannot be a mere bystander. The actor has to be actively involved. Some years ago, a police officer’s wife had cancer and treatment was expensive; so the officer robbed a bank; the officer was arrested. That’s not an entrapment case but it contains intent. If someone undercover had induced him to pay for the treatment by robbing a bank, the officer would have been expected to know that he’s not allowed to do that even to selflessly help his wife out of dire straits and even if he wasn’t an officer.

Nick Levinson August 14, 2022 1:03 PM

@Winter: Correction to my last post’s last sentence: I shouldn’t have said “induced”; I should have said, “If someone undercover had encouraged him to pay for the treatment by offering to help him to rob a bank . . . .”

SpaceLifeForm August 14, 2022 3:08 PM

@ Dancing On Thin Ice

I was not doing the diagnosis, I was just suggesting some possible things for you to diagnose. I am not there next to your device, you are.

Since you say it occurs only on this site, and you think that video and heat are eliminated from the scenario, then more information is needed.

For example, what is the platform, and what browser? Browser plugins? What ISP?

There can be a lot of variables in play.

Clive Robinson August 14, 2022 3:54 PM


“an adult should not have been fooled and then could be prosecuted for possession even when a child could not be.”

You have to take great care with a statment like that.

After all when does a child become an adult?

As I indicated the UK does not have entrapment legislation so we will have to “fall back” on something else where you would expect a difference between children and adults and that is the “attractive nuisance”

What is attractive to a child but not an adult? And importantly why?

I’ve actually had to go through this…

Aparantly a twenty one year old and student friends kicking a football (soccer ball) in a back garden of a house they rent is “acceptable behaviour”. OK that is between them and their “land lord”.

But what about at the panels of a fence between two gardens and breaking it?

I was quite seriously told by the soliciter that as the fence looked sufficientky like a football goal that it falls under “attractive nuisance” even to a twenty one year old… and that I was thus responsible not just for the broken fence but the injuries the idiot suffered when diving into the fence and breaking it and his collar bone. All because in his mind he was reliving some magical save from a televised match or some such nonsense…

Apparently people were not ammused when I seriously asked to see the blood tests, because he must have been on some illicit drug…

They came back with “blood had not been taken at the time so was not available”…

They got even more upset when I turned around and asked for other tests specifically a “hair test”[1], and a psychiactric evaluation as to if as a twenty one year old he was actually mentally competent…

In the end I did two things,

1, I started action against the landlord for the cost of repairs and legal costs.

2, Found out which institution they were students of and told the administrator I was holding the institution liable for the drug addled behaviour of their students and I was going to make it very very public in every way I could.

When I started dropping leaflets through certain peoples front doors the message kind of got through…

For some reason “the personal touch” at “peoples homes” on a Sunday morning has way more persuasion than legal notification of intended action delivered to their business addresses during working hours[2]…

[1] I knew there was a high probability that he would fail such a drugs test because of the stink of them smoking the stuff was coming into my house…

[2] Something the CEO of Microsoft UK experienced a very short while ago, and it had the desired effect of waking them up to their liabilities…

vas pup August 14, 2022 4:06 PM

Unfortunately my post You responding to was deleted by Moderator.
That is link to initial article just you could see it all

Israel’s StemRad gears up for major demo of anti-radiation suit on NASA’s Artemis I

“Israeli company StemRad, a developer of radiation protection suits for space explorers, emergency responders, defense forces, nuclear industry workers, and medical personnel, is preparing for a major demonstration of its technology as part of NASA’s Artemis I mission later this month.”

vas pup August 14, 2022 4:09 PM

More technology news related to the nature of the blog:

Israeli green thermal storage company enters the Brazilian market

“The Israeli thermal energy storage company Brenmiller Energy — which uses crushed rocks to maintain heat that can be released on demand as steam, hot water or hot air — is entering the Brazilian market.”

Israeli study: Pest defenses in wild wheat can help save cultivated species

“Wild wheat, one of the first grains to be domesticated in the Near East, has at least two mechanisms for defense against pests that could be bred back into cultivated wheat varieties, new Israeli research suggests.”

Hopefully Moderator refrains from cleansing this post…

ResearcherZero August 14, 2022 11:26 PM


The Till on the Hill may be committing fraud and misleading its followers by spending money it was falsely claiming was tax deductible.

“dubious bookkeeping unlikely to be compliant with legislation and which would bring the church into disrepute if those details were ever made public”

…this included leaders making “significant” gifts to church directors and their family and friends, as well as using credit cards to pay for international travel and designer products.

the church repeatedly breached charity rules, particularly in regard to transferring money to fund overseas projects.

Many Australian Hillsong entities are prohibited from doing this because the money would no longer be subjected to local oversight designed to ensure the funds are appropriately spent on charitable services.

Two former European pastors have accused Hillsong co-founder Brian Houston and the church’s general manager of sending threatening emails during a dispute over the transfer of their church, cash, and assets to Hillsong Australia.

Last month, Hillsong’s Sydney-based global pastor Brian Houston resigned after the church revealed it had received complaints from two women about his behaviour.

Since then, nine Hillsong branches in the US have broken away from the church. Now, the former lead pastors of the Kyiv and Moscow churches say they too attempted to break away from the church in 2014.

They say they ultimately chose to hand over their churches and assets after Brian Houston threatened to open a rival Hillsong church in Kyiv.

“Disappointed and shocked”: Scott Morrison distances himself from his former mentor.

“I’ve known Brian for a long time and Hillsong church has a very big network of churches all across the United States, and the ministry, when it comes to the music and so many other things have been very big – it’s probably the single largest church organisation that is known in the United States.”

“Irrespective of the circumstances around this, we can all agree that Brian and Bobbie have served God faithfully over many decades and that their ministry has resulted in millions of people across the world being impacted by the power, grace and love of Jesus Christ.”

Give me your money and I shall not only give you purpose, but the answers that you seek! Cash donations only please

ResearcherZero August 14, 2022 11:29 PM

The Linux kernel uses the file structure to represent an open file. Every open file descriptor in user space is represented by a file structure in the kernel; in essence, a file descriptor is an index into a table in struct files_struct, where a pointer to the file structure can be found. There is a fair amount of information kept in the file structure, including the current position within the file, the access mode, the file_operations structure, a private_data pointer for use by lower-level code, and more.

Like many kernel data structures, file structures can have multiple references to them outstanding at any given time. As a simple example, passing a file descriptor to dup() will allocate a second file descriptor referring to the same file structure; many other examples exist. The kernel must keep track of these references to be able to know when any given file structure is no longer used and can be freed; that is done using the f_count field. Whenever a reference is created, by calling dup(), forking the process, starting an I/O operation, or any of a number of other ways, f_count must be increased. When a reference is removed, via a call to close() or exit(), for example, f_count is decreased; when it reaches zero, the structure can be freed.

Unix-domain sockets are used for communication between processes running on the same system; they behave much like pipes, but with some significant differences. One of those is that they support the SCM_RIGHTS control message, which can be used to transmit an open file descriptor from one process to another. This feature is often used to implement request-dispatching systems or security boundaries; one process has the ability to open a given file (or network socket) and make decisions on whether another process should get access to the result. If so, SCM_RIGHTS can be used to create a copy of the file descriptor and pass it to the other end of the Unix-domain connection.

SCM_RIGHTS will obviously create a new reference to the file structure behind the descriptor being passed. This is done when the sendmsg() call is made, and a structure containing pointers to the file structure being passed is attached to the receiving end of the socket. This allows the passing side to immediately close its file descriptor after passing it with SCM_RIGHTS; the reference taken when the operation is queued will keep the file open for as long as it takes the receiving end to accept the new file and take ownership of the reference. Indeed, the receiving side need not have even accepted the connection on the socket yet; the kernel will stash the file structure in a queue and wait until the receiver gets around to asking for it.

Queuing SCM_RIGHTS messages in this way makes things work the way application developers would expect, but it has an interesting side effect: it creates an indirect reference from one file structure to another. The file structure representing the receiving end of an SCM_RIGHTS message, in essence, owns a reference to the file structure transferred in that message until the application accepts it. That has some important implications.

When a user receives SCM_RIGHTS message from recvmsg without the MSG_PEEK flag, the kernel will wait until the garbage collection process finishes if it is in progress. However, if the MSG_PEEK flag is on, the kernel will increment the reference count of the transmitted file structures without synchronizing with any ongoing garbage collection process. This may lead to inconsistency of the internal garbage collection state, making the garbage collector mark a non-garbage sock object as garbage to purge.

From a very high level perspective, the internal state of Linux garbage collection can be non-deterministic because MSG_PEEK is not synchronized with the garbage collector. There is a race condition where the garbage collector can treat an inflight socket as a garbage candidate while the file reference is incremented at the same time during the MSG_PEEK receive. As a consequence, the garbage collector may purge the candidate, freeing the socket buffer, while a receiver may install the file descriptor, leading to a UAF on the skb object.

JG4 August 15, 2022 12:19 AM

Maybe a couple of weeks ago, I had a comment held. The part that surprised me is that it never got released. Pretty tepid stuff.

Main point of stopping by today is to comment on the latest news about drones. I would include the headlines and links, but apparently that is an unsolved problem. And the proximate cause for my comment getting held. Can’t recall what the content or comment was that time. What caught my eye today is that Russia is buying drones in significant quantities from Iran. Hezbollah have deployed drones. Cost of delivery of government “services” in Yemen, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Iran is relatively high because of geography. It makes sense for governments interested in these countries to invest in developing drone technology to lower the cost of delivering “services.”

The problem of drones, or more broadly, projected intent, isn’t going to be easy to solve. Not as easy as the self-driving car problem. I could broaden the problem of projected intent to include distributed intent. It’s a short step from there to swarms of drones and the horror that Hitchcock managed to distill into “The Birds.” May you live in interesting times.

As always, appreciate the high level of discourse. For every thousand hacking at the branches, there is one that striking at the root. Here the ratio is closer to one out of two.

2nd try – Never saw a duplicate comment error. “You already said that.”

mh August 15, 2022 2:51 AM

Last week, the German BSI issued their first ever public warning regarding a digital electronic lock:
The ABUS “HomeTec Pro CFA3000” electronic door lock (a “key turner” to be mounted on the inside of the door) is vulnerable to an attack where the attacker records an authorized operation and is then able to operate the lock themselves. All the details have not been published, but some can be found here:
And of course on the vendor’s website where the product is still being advertised:
“Maximum security due to AES-128 bit encryption” 😉
But maybe that’s a mistake by the marketing people, or they use the same key in all locks and wireless keys, or an unsuitable mode of operation, or … As far as I can see, the CVE has not been published yet.

Clive Robinson August 15, 2022 4:21 AM

@ ResearcherZero,

Re : Linux file handle garbage collection.

This issue with “Garbage Collection”(GC) is much more general than this file handle issue and has been known about with garbage collectors for years.

The upshot generaly said is,

“Don’t use Garbage Collectors”

With the implication being to use refrence counting instead…

When they say “Garbage Collectors” what they are actually talking about is the “Mark and Sweep” process and it’s issues.

Basically what they are refering to is the sometimes horiffic

“Stop The World”

issue that “Mark and sweep” garbage collectors have which grows to some power law of the used heap memory. The stop the world happens because you have to have non volitility / consistancy during the “mark and sweep” otherwise memory leaks occur. Which tend not to show up in “user applications” but do show up in “server applications” when the “trip and fall”.

But the “stop the world” problem actually shows up in both user apps and servers these days and can be quite shocking when it does. For instance First Person Shooter games have the bad habit of stoping with a muzzle flash… Web browsers drop pages or just crash. Because some user apps use memory at an extrodinary rate and the programers go about doing it the wrong way. Others such as Web Browsers actually try to become Operating Systems for the user, and those developing them don’t realy have OS Develipment experience.

But the most used altetnative to Mark and Sweep GC is Refrence counting GC which also has it’s problems (cycles) which you can lookup.

Some time ago somebody decided to hybradize a garbage collector to use both “mark and sweep” and “Refrence Counting”… The result is it still has problems, just less obviously so.

One problem that is going to realy hurt in times to come with GC is in a parallel processing environment, every bit as much as it currently does with RTOS systems, where the general advice for GC is either,

“Design it out, or Do it yourself”

Where “design it out” is the most preferable.

The thing is garbage collection in high level languages is like a lot of things “An abstraction nicety” that,

“Breaks hard and hurts badly”

They are put in to take the workload off of ‘not so good’ or lazy programmers. As such it’s a disaster waiting to happen and usually does. Because a language does not know the programers intent so is a “one size fits all” solution that is guarenteed to be inefficient, ineffective, and snag/blow up as things scale. Thus the solution…

“Actually know what you are doing and do it appropriately”

The problem is because GC is conveniently abstracted away, next to nobody has any real experience with then. GC systems are “Like the paving slabs beneath our feet, we generaly do not think about them untill we trip and fall”.

You can find discussions on GC in what the legal profession call “Learned Journals”.

But… One such article, from IBM Watson labs by David Bacon et al[1] makes the point that in fact fundementaly both the Mark and Sweep, and Refrence Counting are the same… The conclusion being that neither is perfect and you should thus chose on your “resource costs”.

Which has led to some GC’s adopting a “divide and conquer” approach in that rather than “mark and sweep the whole heap” you divide the heap up into small segments and mark and sweep those individually. That way the “Stop the World” issue gets broken into small pieces that can be dispersed in time. It’s kind of like the notion of “process space” in “process space”.

Some years ago I wrote a Stack Based environment for embedded systems. I decided from the get go to use not just refrence counting but indirect pointers via a base stack pointer. Primarily as microcontrolers tend not to have Memory Managment Units(MMUs) so doing VM had to be done via refrence to process or thread “base pointers”. Once you have to do things that way, other things have to follow. Hence it’s up to you “To turn the sourest of lemons into the sweetest of lemonade”… It turns out that in effect you make GC easier because of it because you get “micro heaps” almost for free.

I fully expect GC to keep coming up as a problem subject long after I’m gone, and in all probability long after all the current readers here now are gone… It’s just one of those things.

Oh and it’s not just “memory that leaks” when you get it wrong but “security leaks” as well either directly as with malloc() / free() issues or indirectly through time based side channels that an attacker can induce. Which is a consequence of the “Security -v- Efficiency” issue I mention from time to time here and other places.

[1] “A unified theory of garbage collection” : David F. Bacon, Perry Cheng, V.T. Rajan : IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Hights NY 10598.

A copy of which can be found at,


SpaceLifeForm August 15, 2022 9:35 AM


A Classification thread


SpaceLifeForm August 15, 2022 5:28 PM

@ JG4, Clive, ALL

re: Duplicate comment

Yogi Berra was paying attention: You can Observe a lot just by watching.

Let’s note what you Observed.

The first is where you noted that you got the duplicate comment message. Your original actually made it.

The only textual difference was that you appended to the end that you got the duplicate error.

It was actually a duplicate because you posted the exact same comment to two different articles.

Duplicates are detected by hashing. When you added the note about duplication, you changed the hash.

Note two different articles or threads (posts in WP parlance).

Duplicate detection is cross-thread to stop spammers.

I suspect that WP still uses MD5 for this, which may be problematic.

ResearcherZero August 15, 2022 10:24 PM

@Clive Robinson

Memory being very expensive once had it’s advantages. Even image processing was accomplished within a very small allocation. Improved compression techniques and significant efficiency gains were then achieved with the same limitations. You really needed to use the ol’ noggin back then, it was a requirement, not just a suggestion.

ResearcherZero August 16, 2022 3:03 AM

Gamaredon (aka Armageddon or Shuckworm) is a group of Russian hackers believed to be part of the 18th Center of Information Security of the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service.

Microsoft says they have taken action to disrupt SEABORGIUM’s campaigns by disabling accounts used for surveillance, phishing, and email collection.

SEABORGIUM directly adds a URL to the body of their phishing email. Occasionally, the actor leverages URL shorteners and open redirects to obfuscate their URL from the target and inline protection platforms. MSTIC has observed an increase in the use of attachments in SEABORGIUM campaigns. These attachments typically imitate a file or document hosting service, including OneDrive, and request the user to open the document by clicking a button. SEABORGIUM also abuses OneDrive to host PDF files that contain a link to the malicious URL. This activity does not represent any security issues or vulnerabilities on the OneDrive platform.

Regardless of the method of delivery, when the target clicks the URL, the target is directed to an actor-controlled server hosting a phishing framework, most often EvilGinx.
Once the target is redirected to the final page, the framework prompts the target for authentication, mirroring the sign-in page for a legitimate provider and intercepting any credentials. After credentials are captured, the target is redirected to a website or document to complete the interaction. On occasion, Microsoft has observed attempts by the actor to evade automated browsing and detonation by fingerprinting browsing behavior.

Defenses include disabling email auto-forwarding in Microsoft 365, using the IOCs to investigate for potential compromise, requiring MFA on all accounts, and for more security, requiring FIDO security keys.

“various parent processes with file names that had VCD, H264 and ASC extensions”

The first suspicious activity Symantec saw on victim systems was a self-extracting 7-Zip file, which was downloaded via the system’s default browser. Subsequently, mshta.exe downloaded an XML file, which was likely masquerading as an HTML application (HTA) file.

How the emails were obtained is unknown and the website hosting them made no effort to explain who was behind the leak. The leaked messages mainly appear to have been exchanged using ProtonMail.

“What jumps out at me is how similar the M.O. is to Guccifer 2 and DCLeaks”

How to hack a tabulator, with extensive physical tampering…

The group’s efforts involved convincing local clerks to hand over tabulators, taking the tabulators to hotels or rental properties in Oakland County, breaking into the machines, printing “fake ballots” and performing “tests” on the equipment…

The tabulators were taken from local clerks for weeks at a time, and one machine was subject to “extensive physical tampering,”

In the summary of findings, the attorney general repeatedly refers to successful overtures made by “Person 1” to county clerks to obtain vote tabulators, software and USB drives, claiming they were needed for an investigation “into election fraud.”

Days after the tabulators were finally returned to the Roscommon clerk in early April of 2021, DePerno issued a subpoena to Verizon seeking more detailed information on the tabulators. That subpoena included modem ID numbers of two Richfield Township tabulators and one from Roscommon County.

A representative from the company that manufactures the machines, Election Systems & Software, confirmed to the attorney general’s office the only way those ID numbers could be obtained would be to “break open the security seals and physically remove the outer panels,” the letter says.

ES&S also confirmed to the attorney general that it found no evidence in resulting software or firmware manipulation. All of the tabulators at issue were decommissioned before the Aug. 2 primary election and are being held as evidence for a special prosecutor.

DePerno still had a link on his law firm’s website to a May 2021 interview he gave to the conservative One America News Network featuring “a systems vulnerability expert” using a tabulator covered in red duct tape to demonstrate how votes could be flipped. It is not clear from the video if that was one of the compromised machines.

SpaceLifeForm August 16, 2022 4:34 PM

SpaceBalls OpSec 1122334455

There may be two bags of luggage.


Clive Robinson August 16, 2022 6:37 PM

@ Roflo, ALL,

Re : Signal Users’ Phone Numbers Exposed.

“I think this news hasn’t been discussed yet”

I’m not surprised…

From the get go of “secure message apps” I’ve said they are not, nor could be fundementaly secure.

As you will appreciate that made me quite unpopular and still does.

Although I’ve not called them “Snake Oil” as far as I am aware they all should be treated as such (I’ve explained their failings before).

I’ve even called some of the developers like Moxie Marliinspike out for the junk they are pushing and invited them to say why I’m wrong.

If you are lucky you might just hear the distant tumbleweed blowing through their towns…

Whilst this nonsense with Twilio is not down to the Signal software, it is very much down to those running the Signal system in such a brain dead fashion.

Let’s just say it is further evidence that whilst they might know something about “securing a message contents in a Shannon Channel” they actually either know very little about privacy / security Opsec in general, or don’t care… Either way it’s another nail in the lid of Signal as a privacy tool.

And the same applies to all electronic communications with third party corporate Shannon Channel suppliers.

Even before Ed Snowden came to the worlds attention, a quater of a century before that the FBI were having a tough time trying to persuade the elected legislators in the US to strip US citizens of their communications privacy. What FBI Director Louis Freeh new was that the US legislators would not budge on such a political career suicide trip unless other sovereign nations moved first.

So he neglegted hia actual duties the US citizens expected of him and he went on a world tour at the tax payers expense glad,handing other nations senior law enforcment and synpathetic politicians to try to get them to be the first movers. As history shows he might have racked up a lot of airmiles but he did not actually get anywhere.. other than a few nice places and stayed in nice hotels etc quite a few US tax payers would like to go and do but can not aford to…

What kept it from being a real scandle and accusations of Malfeasance in Public Office was the NSA behaviour over Cryptography got so agregious and so untruthfull what became known as “Crypto Wars 1.0” happened over the infamouse “clipper chip” that turned out to have a deliberately designed in “backdoor” that was also a “Not on Us But on You” device.

Known as the “Law Enforcment Access Field” or “LEAF” it was a way for Law enforcment to access “keys held in escrow”. To stop you using thr Cliper chips without the law enforcment back door the LEAF was in effect a “checksum” if the right result was not obtained then the chips could not communicate “in theory”. The thing is as Matt Blaze found and published the LEAF was way to short. Thus you could rapidly find a different number that would alow communications, but could not be used by Law Enforcment to access the escrow keys…

So the NSA had designed a system that was in effect insecure for everyone but them…

Only their trick was discovered and made public…

The blow back from that not only stopped the Clipper Chip, it also “chilled” the FBI and DoJ plans and nobody was going to touch it…

Then the FBI DoJ got a gift from heaven when planes were crashed into US buildings… You know it as 9/11 and I think of it as,

“The Epoch day, when technicaly unsophisticated people, turned the technology for the people of the Country that assumed it was the most technically sophisticated on the planet, against those people and rather than be bold they became afraid very afraid.”

Since then nearly all US technical sophistication made for the US People has been turned against the US People by US State Agencies and Corporates. Worse it’s clear that all that technology is made abroad and the US People have lost jobs, status, and Education in the process, and the corporates have paid next to nothing in tax, thus vampiring wealth out from the US People, and rather than stop this the legislators pass legislation to encorage more of it…

But the FBI and DoJ never gave up on getting at US and other Nations citizens Privacy. They knew the NSA were “backdooring US tech” and they wanted in on the action. Only everyone was saying NO for very good reasons. We know the FBI / DoJ slipped some stuff into the PATRIOT Act but as much of it is classified we do not know the scope. They and the US Intelligence Community have also got just about every US President since to produce EO’s that further rob people of their privacy.

But what did the FBI DoJ a favour was Ed Snowdon. The FBI and DoJ as well as all the US IC agencies have used him as the poster child of why they need more, more and yet more privacy stripping from every citizen in the world.

But two points of note,

1, The CEO of a communications corporation that said it was going to stick to the law unlike other corporations, ended up in a real world of hurt.

2, The CEO of the email company Ed Snowden had used because it offered reasonable privacy, also got thrown into a real world of hurt for trying to stick to the privacy promises his company had made.

At which point the corporations got the message “Cooporate or rot in jail”.

So you can now see why all these security apps are not as secure as many incorrectly think them to be.

The trick they have used to keep authorities off of their back is to ensure that the authorities will have an easier time leaning on the OS and hardware designers of “Smart Devices”. It was this that came to a head with the FBI and DoJ case against Apple. Thy foolishly thought that if they could get Apple to comply then the rest of the industry would jump in line. Only Apple fought back, the FBI and DoJ then started lying in court… To get the “case law” the FBI and DoJ desperately wanted… But when it became clear it was not going to happen, rather than have an adverse judgment made against them the FBI and DoJ pulled the “rip cord” and bailed out…

Only History shows they will try similar again, and most corporations have people working for them that are,

1, Smart enough to see this eventuality.
2, Plan how to avoid being the goat.
3, Plan a legal defence well in advance to make someone else the goat.
4, Ensure all their systems have weaknesses on the perifery that will keep the execs out of durance vile, and still let the PR and other marketing people cry out loud about how there system is secure…

Which is what we see here,

1, Signals overall system has failed to deliver on their security promises and nearly 2000 users of their systrm have been harmed.
2, Signal can claim it was not their software or other part they have built that was at fault.
3, Signal can claim correctly it eas Twilio’s fault.

What however Signal can not explain away was why they were using an orgsnisation like Twilio in their overall systrm, especially as Twilio do not have a reputation of maintaining users privacy…

So that’s the two base talking points,

1, Why was Twilio so insecure?
2, Why was Signal using Twilio?

I’ve suggested answers to those above, it’s now upto others to,

1, Agree.
2, Disagree with reasoning.
3, Suggest augments or alternates.

And I rather hope they do all of them, as that is what this blog is all about, making people think and reason about security, that gives citizens the world over, the privacy that society as we know it currently desperately needs to survive.

JG4 August 17, 2022 1:38 AM

“If you forget something you can look it up on the internet…”

Your search mileage may vary. One of the more interesting articles that I’ve seen lately said that both Xi and Putin understand that they have reached the limits of their current educational systems. That puts them well ahead of the US.

“Do you think that the country that put a man on the moon couldn’t fix education tomorrow?” – George Carlin “It’s not in their interests to have a nation of critical thinkers.”

I lost track of the article, whether I made any notes on it, and whether it still is open in a tab. So, I searched the internet a few times and struck out repeatedly. Wouldn’t be the first time that it was difficult to find something.

The article went on to suggest that China would deploy their financial reserves on some combination of research and education. Well before the value of the reserves drops to zero. The rest of the article was equally interesting. A substantial piece of it was spent describing a gifted kid who was the brightest in his school, but his parents wanted him to go to the best school.

So, he got into a really elite program where everyone else was a genius. I met a guy like that who went from a track team in Oklahoma to someplace like UCLA. From winning to can’t keep up. I think that it has been noted here that Shanghai students took many of the top spots in a global math competition.

I doubt that a monopoly on 3nm technology and pressure gain combustion will last long, when those kids start swapping open source engineering tools. Was it here that the article about a mainland Chinese company already shipping 3nm chips was posted?

I’ll skip the links, but there were plenty of interesting articles on NC today. Including at least two on the right to repair. Just as sacred as the right to self defense.

Winter August 17, 2022 5:52 AM


both Xi and Putin understand that they have reached the limits of their current educational systems. That puts them well ahead of the US.

The article went on to suggest that China would deploy their financial reserves on some combination of research and education.

There are many different systems of education in the world.

The USA and UK are known for creaming the top students for the world’s best educations, and ignoring all the sub-top students. This gives rise to the world’s best research and a chronic skills shortage for implementing what is found.

Eg, Germany and Finland invest in the lower and vocational level education. This means everyone gets a decent/good education for every student. The result is that German industry can output highly complex products at high quality.

For what I know about it, Russian education is pretty good at theoritical subjects, math etc, and unparalleled in language education. Manufacturing is pretty bad.

China has a good system to harvest excellent students. Their system used to be directed at drill teaching. Vocational training, manufacturing, must be good as their industry shows. There are however a lot of fraudulent scam schools that take the students money but do not give adequate education.

All these countries are running up to a demographic wall of lower student numbers.

Clive Robinson August 17, 2022 6:11 AM

@ JG4, name.withheld…,

Re : George Carlin comment abd Security.

The observation of,

“It’s not in their interests to have a nation of critical thinkers.”

Raises two obvious questions,

1, Who is “they”?
2, Why is it not in their interests?

The first or “they” question is perhaps the most vexed one, but once understood almost implicitly answers the second.

Basically after analysis and abstracting out behaviour commonalities the result is the “they” are those that are doing most harm to society and can be seen as “the self entitled” who have very “short term” or “fast” attitudes to work and life. Which is why they are not just a major security risk[1] but a positive danger to society as well.

So the “they” boil down to those who have aberant overlaping mental pathologies most of which are considered incurable but heritable (genetic).

Depending on who you listen to the list includes some or all of,

1, Narcissism
2, Sadism
3, Psychopathy
4, Machiavellism
5, hypersexuality
6, Beliefes of entitlement
7, Fast lifestyle
8, Prediliction to dangerous behaviours.

It needs to be noted that the latter half of the list are “symptoms” of the first half and increasing evidence suggests the second quater are actually not heritable so not genetic.

But with a “hawk” generally exhibiting some or all of the above, with the exception of Machiavellism, against a more general “Dove” population you can see why the Hawks might not want an educated Dove class.

Further Machiavellian behaviour does however have a strong correlation with intelligence and the ability to learn (high functioning) with the desire to be more covert than overt in their base behaviours thus more successful in aims and duration. Such high functioning individuals would not be overly concerned about “critical thinking” Doves. In fact they might view them as being a spice to test their métier.

Some, thinking on the matter, suggest that these dark traits that are heritable are a form of perverted evolutionary mating advantage. So have given them several names in the past as the views refine, one of which is “fast-life”, another the old “Alpha-male”. Basically behaviours that favours the creation of many offspring but taking reaponsability over none of them. Thus favouring quantity over quality, which is not the way for the majority of humans.

The main problem for society is the fallout or side effects of the “fast-life” behaviours. They are generally not at all good and lead to “short-life” behaviours like smoking, drinking, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and sleep avoidance thus hypermania. As these traits tend to require significant funding this leads almost inevitably to fraud and other forms of significant criminality. And worse the fast-reward driver leads to very poor impulse control thus often agression and violence, which can be made significantly worse by the sadism trait. It has been suggested that nearly all “hit and run” and other speed or dangerous driving behaviours are committed by those with a “Dark Triad” base. Likewise apparently sensless public violence, and Troll behaviours.

Whilst these people are nolonger considered in the main to be clinically insane, they do represent a very significant risk in society, especially in hierarchical structured organisations.

The result being that most US corporations and government agencies tend to have these people as the top levels of the hierarchy… Which might explain the neo-con predlictions for behaviours that make “slash abd burn farming” look ecologicaly sustainable in comparison.

What becomes interesting is the rapid rise of the dark triad since Thatcherism and Reaganism of the 1980’s that saw the rise of,

1, Greed is good
2, Generation Me
3, Generation Entitlement

In successive decades. As the old name of “Alpha-male” suggests these traits were originally mainly seen in men, but it has very rapidly made an appearence in women since the rise of,

4, Ladette Culture.

It’s been suggested that this is due to birth control. In the past fast-life behaviour in women would have been curtailed in many ways by the birth of a child, and each successive child would have redduced it even further. Remember even in the 1980’s and 1990’s women were being istitutionalised on spurious reasons and sterilized compulsorily “for their own good” whilst others were made subject to brain structure damaging treatments including but not limited to electric shock treatment and direct nurological surgery such as lobotomies, enough of whom died as a result that such treatments are looked on even in the proffession as medieval torture.

The basic heritable traits of narcissism and sadism are considerd to be “genetic” or “nature”.

Whilst for psychopathy there is increasing evidence it probably results from physical or chemical “insult” / injury during brain development and later[2].

Which leaves Machiavellism, which is currently seen as being as a result of high functioning sadists and narcissists learning to be less direct so less obvious in their behaviours thus it is regarded as “learned” or by “nurture”.

The main point is that in the US and UK without doubt these traits are significantlt on the rise especially in women. Thus the question of “Why?” is one that is ununswered and desperately needs answering fairly rapidly.

It also takes very little follow on thinking to see why “they” should be considered the number one insider threat to security, and a major threat to the safety and continuance of society as we currently know it.

[1] Some may be tempted to draw conclusions based on large quantities of highly classified documents being “recovered” from dusty corridor cupboards this week by the FBI. You might not be wrong to do so, we would need further evidence to be certain, and that evidence is generally not something that becomes directly public except during trials.

[2] I’ve mentioned befor “the sporting link” where head contact sports are now known to cause brain injuries that increasingly bring out the behaviours associated with psychopathy. And at autopsy it’s been shown that there has been structural brain damage.

Winter August 17, 2022 7:29 AM


Raises two obvious questions,
1, Who is “they”?
2, Why is it not in their interests?

Although I share your suspicion of people strong in the dark triad/Tetrad, I think you reason too much on the basis of special personalities. History has shown us the banality of the worst evil-doers.

In education, there are two simple mechanisms that work against goid universal education.

1) Faith, both religious and political, does not thrive with education. Parents and “elders” see educated youngsters leave their religious and political communities. That has long been a motivation to keep girls and younger siblings out of higher education: They were used as a cheap workforce.

2) Every parent worries about the futuyof their children. It is a rat race out their and everything is allowed to give your children a head start. Depraving children of other families of a good education is one of such strategies. Extra (paid) lessons, private schools and universities, combined with tax and spending reductions in education are widely used in these rat races.

Parents can have selfish reasons to deny some children a good education to profit from them. Parents can have selfish from denying other children a good education to increase the chances of their own children.

Religious and political leaders can need the support of an uneducated people for their own sustainability, or they can deny education to those they see a competing with their own people.

All these are rational strategies to limit educational advancement to further the interests of leaders, parents, families, churches, and political movements.

Note that in all instances, there are competing strategies to improve general education to further the interests of other parts of society. In general, improved education is one of those “the tide lifts all boats”. But some people only want to be higher than their neighbors, even if this means everybody is lowered.

Clive Robinson August 17, 2022 8:56 AM

@ Winter,

“But some people only want to be higher than their neighbors, even if this means everybody is lowered.”


“The idiocy of status”

I’ve mentioned it before with the “usefull idiots” that fill the court in the “King Game”.

Thay would chearfully vote to forgo all the benifits of modern society where we live nearly twice as long, healthy and mainly comfortable lives, with education (and in the UK quite often lack of religious nutf4ckery). To sit on a horse riding around spitting on those they force to grovel in the soil…

Such is the price of opening the status gap. They know that in any functional modern society that wealth and power nolonger bring the sort of status they crave.

The reason, next to nobody wants to lead mean, short, brutish lives even those with much wealth and power generaly realise that their wealth and power from which the gain the control they desire, would not exist without a modern economy generating it. Which in turn requires an active economy with significant churn. You do not get economic churn let alone growth if you do not have wealth generators, and those grubbing around in the ground rarely generate anything like wealth.

In the mediaeval period excess weakth over income from a pleasant was on average less thsn 10% and they had no actual disposable income.

In a modern society more than 50% of what an individual earns goes to central and local government. However untill this century most had about 25% of what remained as disposable income, which is what caused the economic churn and growth not just of wealth but society.

You can see why the sobriquet of “idiot” applies to those seeking status… In fact we tend to joke about them being “Z Listers” amongst other things.

SpaceLifeForm August 17, 2022 1:18 PM

@ Roflo, Clive, ALL

re: Twilio discussion

Actually, I did bring it up

Note the slashdot article links back to the arstechnica article

Kevin Purdy was paying attention also, and spent more time than I did, which is why he was 12 minutes later. Note that ars is saying CST, but it should be CDT currently. Also, there are very informative comments on the ars article, better than the slashdot comments.

Anyway, Clive described it very well.

He did not chase down two links, so I will now do so because I think it is important to understand the history.

(note: not https)

Note PJ updated her article to point to something our host wrote.

Now, nearly 9 years later, I am not sure that Bruce would still completely agree with his 9 year old self.

&ers August 17, 2022 1:27 PM


After we removed that T34 tank from Narva,
Estonia was hit with a massive cyberattack wave.

Clive Robinson August 17, 2022 3:32 PM

@ &ers,

Re : NHS 111 Cyber attack.

I’ll have to do some checking but the part of the NHS 111 service they are talking about is one of the only bits left of the Worlds largest Failed ICT project… “NHSnet” that I mentioned a week or so back[1].

If memory serves correctly the part being talked about was done so under BT when our host was working for them.

As far as I’m aware @Bruce was never involved with NHSnet… which by the way has become a case study in it’s own right of how not to do major ICT projects.

But the checking will have to wait due to “natural events”,

We’ve had next to know rain and regularly had tenps above 30C which had thoroughly dried the surface like concrete. So rather than “soak in” as we need, it mostly has become “rin off” causing major flooding. I have been tempted to get the canoe out but my damaged rotor cuffs would put me at a disadvantage compared to just half a decade ago.

One thing all the rain has done other than flooding everywhere is suck the temprature down from over 30C to just about 20C which now feels positively chilly. Oh and the bad smell… Roads have something like eight weeks of dead tyre rubber and exhast smuts on them. The rain has washed it along in the process making a rather unpleasent dead chemical stink.

Hopefully you are enjoying better weather where you are and things are quiet.

Something tells me that selling that T34 to some crazy collector would be a good idea 😉

[1] It came up in regard to a comment that I think @SpaceLifeForm had linked to where someone talked about a software Crypto system protected by Triple DES that was installed on PC hard drives. It was from the civilian side of GCHQ known as CESG and was the little brother to Rambutin which was another cipher but using custom network chips. Both were used to supposadly protect “NHSnet”…

SpaceLifeForm August 17, 2022 4:03 PM

@ Clive, ALL

Re: email addresses and phone numbers

this line intentionally italicized

Connect the dots folks. because there are others doing so, to your detriment.


Fun fact, if @AmericanExpress believes a threat actor also has your email address, they will disable the chip in your card. Nobody can override this.

This reply probably can give you a hint.


Actually, this is a feature because of a trend of fraudulent activity (over lockdown especially) where people were using email addresses connected to amex accounts to connect them to apple pay and run up the balance. You should know the systems are automated


New yubikey arrived from Amazon, with the package opened and scotched shut.


Hi there! Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we’re so sorry this has happened. This is not up to our standards for packaging, nor how keys should be shipped in a secure way. We’d like to get to the bottom of this, please send us a DM so we can help resolve this issue.

Mr. Peed Off August 17, 2022 5:22 PM

John Deere tractor hacked to play Doom.

The project took months to develop, according to Sick Codes. It targeted a John Deere tractor 4240 touchscreen controller with an Arm-compatible NXP I.MX 6 system-on-chip running Wind River Linux 8. There were also devices running Windows CE.

The hack involved getting into the physical guts of the controller and modifying the electronics in such a way to run his code. It turned out once you were able to get your own software onto the equipment, it would just accept it and execute away.

“The main bug is that nothing’s encrypted or checksummed properly or anything like that,” Sick explained, adding that patching the weakness out isn’t practical.

The fix, he suggested, is simply building new devices with proper security. All the firmware’s code runs as root, too, we’re told.

SpaceLifeForm August 17, 2022 6:29 PM

@ Clive, ALL

Keystone Cops material

This is a video of Russian soldiers trying to escape from a drone. Decoding Vegetation while running is a Hard Problem. It is unknown if it is NP Complete.


ResearcherZero August 18, 2022 12:35 AM

The kangaroo asked for comment replied, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe!”

Realtek SDK SIP ALG Vulnerability: A Big Deal, but not much you can do about it. CVE 2022-27255

An attacker can trigger a stack-based buffer overflow by sending an arbitrary string.

The Realtek SDK implements an Application Layer Gateway (ALG) for SIP. Many routers do that to allow SIP to work past NAT. NAT alters a packet’s IP addresses. But the SIP payload also includes the IP addresses, and the ALG ensures that the IP addresses in the payload match the routable IP address of the gateway.

So what can you do about this?

First of all, make sure your firmware is up to date. There is a chance that your vendor did release an update. Secondly, if you can block unsolicited UDP requests at your perimeter, this isn’t easy, and you must be careful not to block anything critical. But remember, you only need to block “unsolicited inbound” traffic. Traffic like DNS responses is still ok. This may be an option depending on the capabilities of your firewall. Protocols like gaming and some VoIP systems may give you a more difficult time with rules like this. For VoIP, you may be able to allowlist your VoIP provider.

Other than that: Be vigilant. Do not “trust” your router (which means moving to more host-based controls or, dare I say it: Zero trust. Nothing you are going to fully implement today.

ResearcherZero August 18, 2022 12:43 AM

RTLS is a technology used in multiple industries, including smart cities, retail, manufacturing, mass transit, etc. The zero-days found specifically pose a security risk for workers in industrial environments. If a threat actor exploits these vulnerabilities, they have the ability to tamper with safety zones designated by RTLS to protect workers in hazardous areas.

“a threat actors could launch a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack and tamper with location data to place a worker outside of a geo-fencing area so that dangerous machinery would restart while a worker is nearby. A threat actor could also tamper with location data to show that a worker is within a designated geofencing zone to shut down an entire production line, even when no one is around. They also demonstrated how threat actors could tamper with RTLS used for COVID-19 contact tracing to falsify personnel coming into contact with COVID-positive personnel.”

Android banking malware improved capabilities…

We are witnessing an Android banking malware spring season, where the full focus and attention by criminals is changing and switching very rapidly from the Account TakeOver (ATO) modus operandi, to something more complicated, but also more lucrative: in fact, more and more malware families are now implementing some sort of On-Device Fraud (ODF) capability.

“To give a better understanding of what ODF looks like, we developed a Proof of Concept (PoC) ATS malware, designed to attack a fictitious banking application. In the following video you will see how malware can interact with the UI and successfully login using previously stolen credentials and perform a transaction. The steps are slowed down to allow the viewer to understand what is happening. However, in a real case scenario, the whole process would happen in a few instants, leaving no time to react to the victim.”

Octo botnet, actively promoted on darknet forums, is in fact a ExobotCompact inheritor and it is rented out to multiple threat actors. The main actor behind Octo keeps updating the Trojan and has introduced several new features in the latest update.

Clive Robinson August 18, 2022 2:41 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Re : The passage of thought over time.

“Now, nearly 9 years later, I am not sure that Bruce would still completely agree with his 9 year old self.”

I actually don’t think our host implicitly agreed with it back then.

One of the things this blog has done is changed the way our host thinks on many things. It sometimes takes a whill but you will see things said on this blog that he has obviously read and thought over.

It might also be a shock to him to realise what is obvious to others, that what he says publicly is like the wake of a ship. His thinking is some distance ahead in it’s journey, what we hear he has thought through, checked and thought through again. And is thus most probably true of that time when first thought off weeks or months ago.

Look at it this way, what a Professor teaches undergraduates in his classes, is established science, not what he is researching in his lab and working his way through, that he might talk about to those working on their PhDs.

One of the things we see with regards journalists is they in effect have two sources of comment. The first comments factually and without speculation, which appears dull. The second type are those who speculate and don’t see commenting factually as important.

I think I’ve made comment in some depth before when talking about “secure messaging apps”, lets say it got a little heated but eventually people started to think it through and realised I was not speculating, I could clearly explain what I was saying, that I was speaking factually and compared to others rationaly.

The simple fact was my thinking on the subject had been done several years before “secure message apps” became a “thing” as I’d spent time some years before hand mulling over “Why Johnny Can’t encrypt”[1]. Not just from the “user perspective” but what it realy ment for OpSec of a “system” of which an encryption program would be just a tiny part[2].

[1] From the 8th Usenix Security Syposia all those years back (it’s the 31st in a couple of weeks). It’s still what I would consider fundemental reading for anyone thinking about putting cryptography in a product, where users will have to get their hands in to change the oil as it where,

[2] As it happens I’m still thinking about it more than half a lifetime later. With two problems that at first appear as apparently unimportant to the task of the system but turn to be absolutly fundemental and the bed rock on which everything else is built[3]

[3] The two fundemental system problems that just won’t resolve themselves for “Anonymous End to End Encryption”(AE2EE) occurrs with every usage when both parties are mobile devices and are,

1, An Anonymous Rendezvous Protocol.
2, An Anonymous way to securely establish a “root of trust” without using PubKey or secure side channel.

Why do both have to be Anonymous? Well if they are not then you can show it’s not “End to End” but through a Man In The Middle who then knows who is speaking to who.

Take “Quantum Key Distribution”(QKD) it’s a point to point protocol still currently. Whilst building the OTP is secure and dors not require a root of trusy, the fact the locations are hardwired-in gives away a lot of information which is undesirable, such as who both parties are and where they are now and have been. Thus can be correlated with other DBs to identify both parties beyond reasonable doubt.

Soon we should be able to do QKD securely via “switched” systems, which will rob a third party “Eve” from finding which two parties are talking to each other and building a root of trust (a thought I would not have agreed to just a year or so ago, and infact an argument I used against QKD for some years).

Thus solving the second issue of the two issues anonymously [Which is surprising as technically it looked like the harder problem to do remotely, as previously it was not possible to set up “a remote secure channel to exchange a shared secret as a root of trust” as a remote secure channels could only exist via shared secrets…so “Catch22” or “turtles all the way down”.].

But the Anonymous Rendezvous problem remains and is intriguing to put it mildly.

Basically to find something you have to “search for it”, it sounds obvious when you think about it, but we very rarely do, and almost never think about the implications.

One way to search is “exhaustively” that is for you to “knock on every door” present your “search key” to the “door keep” and ask if it matches.

Another search method is to have standardized “search keys” and for every house owner to be listed in a directory along with all valid search keys. You then go to the “keeper of the directory” who holds the directory and you give them your search key and they run their finger down the directory, and if a match is found gives you the result.

The problem in both cases neither you nor the search key you are using can be kept confidential one or more parties become aware of both. It is an ideal “Man In the Middle” attack of which authorities have been cognizant for centuries and they jealously guard that privilege unto themselves for not just the power but control it gives them.

But how do you solve it in the modern era when both parties are of no fixed location and continuously mobile?

The only solution we have currently is based on the idea of a central directory that both parties have to not just consult, but continuously update frequently. Such a system as stated is impractical as it can not scale. So the current solutions work on the notion that location changes are local, thus you only need to update your local part of the directory thus a hierarchical tree of incressingly older pointers exist and your search begins locally and if your search fails moves up a layer untill a pointer is found, then the search walks down the pointers to find the freshest pointer. This is how the DNS and mobile phone networks do it. The problem is,

1, It is in no way anonymous to those involved in the search.
2, Every step in the search reveals who you are searching for by unavoidable meta-data to any observer no matter how you try to encrypt the search key.

I won’t go into the details but you can not make the search key anonymous except with a shared root of trust between both parties, but you can not get that without having solved the root of trust issue.

A seamingly Gordian Knot of interwoven spirals of infinite regression.

Clive Robinson August 18, 2022 4:31 AM

@ lurker,

Re : Look at other products.

“I am advised the head honcho…”

If he’s the honcho of who I think it is… Then consider the other C19 products they’ve been working on.

I suspect two things,

1, The C19 mutant concerned is probably low risk and picked up by testing not symptoms.

2, They are going to get access to all those other C19 products that probably work but were too expensive or to late to the party or still in test.

Thus I’m not surprised they are confident, as they are probably at less risk than if they got a cold. But that original C19 vacine will not realy be helping as the latest mutants have pretty much escaped that vaccine.

However that does not stop various company execes telling the FDA that come winter the FDS/CDC should persuade the US Gov to keep going with the now near usless vaccines.

The price of very high efficacy in those early vaccines was a very narrow coverage skirt… Thus vaccine escape was not just throretical but probable if lockdown quarantine failed.

As it turned out the quarantine was not given a chance to succeed in all but a few places, most politicians crashed-n-trashed it for what they might call political reasons…

Now those original vaccine producers see no reason to make the expenditure on a new vaccine. When they can make loads more profit on the old near usless one…

If people want a vaccine for this comming winter they should have a serious think and not take what they are offered (you don’t buy the first car you are shown on the used car lot).

I’ll say what I’m looking for in prefrence even though I’m fairly immunocompromized… As I’ve already had two Oxford AZ about as far appart as you can have them thus have had about the best I’m going to get out of them, I’m going to be looking for something different to make up for what I’ve not had (which is C19 as far as I am aware). So I am looking for one of those old style vaccines, where they use a mixture of live virus mutations and then stop them being viable. The result gives many multiple strands of RNA for your bodies immune system to pick over and get sensitized to. Their efficacy might be down around 60% but their coverage skirt is very much broader as a consequence…

And no those mRNA vaccines are not on my list for obvious reasons.

But if you are offered a flu vaccine and I have been, then go for it I am most certainly doing so.

Most importantly though I will also keep wearing the mask etc. Because one usefull thing that has come out of C19 lockdown period is that two of the four flu viruses became extinct (shame we did not eradicate C19 as well, which we probably could have done without political interferance).

Winter August 18, 2022 10:57 AM


So I am looking for one of those old style vaccines, where they use a mixture of live virus mutations and then stop them being viable.

That would be Sinovac-CoronaVac [1]. It does not seem to be as effective as the other vaccines. It is also doubtful whether a new one will be developed. As there are few “immuno-naive” people are around nowadays, it would be difficult to test the effectiveness of such a vaccine.

[1] ‘
See also:

lurker August 18, 2022 1:35 PM

@Clive Robinson
My reporter says the victim is now supping up large on paxlovid. I’m not following the conversation. Like you I took AZ, but now being nagged for a booster with pfiz the only flavour available. . .

vas pup August 18, 2022 3:09 PM

Archaeological mystery: Ancient Elamite script from Iran deciphered?

“One common method of deciphering unknown characters is by comparing the same or similar texts in different writing systems. This way, experts can deduce the characters in the unknown script from the known one.

As an example, let’s imagine that we have a text in German with the translation in Chinese directly below.

In the German version, the words “King Karl” appear often. If we now find character sequences in the Chinese version that repeat in the same places, these indicates the correct characters
for “King Karl” in Chinese.

The research team around Desset used this exact method with the silver cups.

The cups had inscriptions of kings and rulers in the same language (Elamite), but in two different writing systems: the already-known Mesopotamian cuneiform script and the unknown Linear Elamite.

Step-by-step, the team was able to understand the characters using this method.

“The cups were the key we needed to decipher the writing,” Desset said. “As a result, we can now read 72 characters.”

Only four characters are still unknown, the researcher said.

The real surprise, Desset said, is the nature of the writing system. Researchers assumed that Linear Elamite writing is a mixture of phonographic and logographic writing.

=>Phonographic characters, or “phonograms,” are individual letters and syllables and represent a speech sound. Logographic characters, or “word signs,” represent a whole word, the way our numerical sign of “1” stands for “one.”

“At the end of my analysis, I found that Linear Elamite writing is
a purely phonographic script,” Desset said. “That makes it the oldest of its kind in the world ― and changes our view of the entire evolution of writing.”

&ers August 18, 2022 3:50 PM


Worth reading. Directly from the original source.


vas pup August 18, 2022 3:58 PM

Israeli startup DriveNets secures $262m for cloud networking software

“The company offers “a radical new way to build networks” to meet customer demand while simplifying operations, performance and costs. Its flagship product, Network Cloud, is a cloud-native software that turns the physical network into a shared infrastructure to support multiple services.

“DriveNets’ approach of building networks like cloud allows telecom providers to take advantage of technological efficiencies available to cloud hyperscalers, such as cloud-native software design and optimal utilization of shared resources across multiple services,” Susan, who serves as DriveNets CEO, said in a statement.

Adam Fisher, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, said the company “has demonstrated its ability to move the networking industry forward and has gained the trust of tier-1 operators.”

&ers August 18, 2022 4:09 PM


No full book yet in English but still, some excerpts
in media:


Clive Robinson August 18, 2022 5:05 PM

@ lurker,

Re : Not the cat’s meow

“My reporter says the victim is now supping up large on paxlovid.”

Apparently it has a “dead cat bounce”[1] issue in four out of ten (does not say if it’s “New York fat cats” or otherwise 😉

Apparently the US face of C19 and the current Pres have gone boing,

That said in the “unvaccinated” it’s claimed to have a just under 90% ability to keep them out of hospital or off of ventilators etc. Others are saying that in the vaccinated little or no efficacy and possibly harmfull… (I’ll let people look it up and read the accrued medical evidence but even it’s manufacturer has said as much…).

The trouble in the UK, by the time you get a Dr’s appt these days to get a prescription, it will probably be “to late” to be of benifit anyway…

[1] Originally a sarcastic term from the US finance industry as Wikipedia notes,

“a dead cat bounce is a small, brief recovery in … a declining stock. Derived from the idea that “even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height”, the phrase …, is also popularly applied to any case where a subject experiences a brief resurgence during or following a severe decline.”

&ers August 18, 2022 5:39 PM


Currently i envy you – as we have here again a heatwave,
30C and up, thunder and rainstorm would be a very welcome
change 🙂

SpaceLifeForm August 18, 2022 5:43 PM

@ @ers

Will follow.


33/ “My gut feeling told me of danger … Logic said that the scouts and attack aircraft were ahead and if they didn’t notice the oddity, then everything was OK. But I was wrong again, logic and the modern Russian Army are not compatible.”

Russia is so broke, that all they can do is to lie to themselves and others, just to barely survive.

It is truly sad.

Society can really do much better.

If Putin and Xi were not around, this planet would be a much better place.

But, hey, what do I know?

Clive Robinson August 19, 2022 5:02 AM

@ &ers,

Re : Mercury Rising


blockquote>”Currently i envy you – as we have here again a heatwave,”



The flash flood rain stopped yesterday. At not yet 9AM in the UK this morning the thermometer here said 26 in the coolest room… I predict that if the cloud cover clears and it does not rain it will be back up to 30 or higher outside in a few hours…

This time though it will be “broiling not baking” as the way of cooking… As the 90mm of rain fall water steams off.

It’s these fast weather changes that are the signifier of GW… Not that it gets hot in Summer, though year on year the temp range is bot just increasing but rising as well which is another indicator. The problem that most first notice is traditional water managment can not keep up…

A sad statistic, on average people use 11lt or 5.5 times the amount of water they drink in a day… Because they leave the tap running for all the time they clean their teeth, around 4-7mins a day. That’s the equivalent of two toilet flushes… Likewise showers… It is posible to have a “Navy Shower” and use less than 2lt of water to get compleatly clean you can even heat the water with sunlight in the winter…

How we live within our environment kind of defines us…

Clive Robinson August 19, 2022 7:06 AM


Antenna Watching

I’ve mentioned before I take note of antennas where ever I go. Some think it’s “odd”, but let me assure you it’s something all security people should get to understand the fundementals of…

Especially now in the era of very very inexpensive “Software Defined Radio”(SDR) where things that were effrctively impossible for anyone without “Level III” funding and technologists / scientists can now be done by home hobbyists for not much more than they give their kids in pocket money.

Something Pen-Testers have been slow to pick up on, thus miss the most likely method of not just data exfiltration but attack by those “targeting” an entity.

Yes read that bit again, anyone that decides to target you specifically for surveillance and knows what they are doing are not going to use your Internet access point because in fairly short order they will be noticed.

The problem with radio systems is that you need a way to get the EMF in a cable out into what is called “freespace” so it can radiate away from one point to another. Such a transducer is more commonly known as an antenna.

Antennas are fairly firmly bound by some of the more interesting laws of physics which makes “size matter” that is if an antenna is less than half a wavelength in size, it is impaired in it’s ability to act as a trancducer. Above half a wavelength in size then it starts to show “gain” but only in one plane or direction that is it starts becoming “directional” which sometimes gives you a significant clue as to where the other party is.

Whilst these rules are valid for all “resonant antennas” they are also valid for what are known as “Transmission line antennas” and “Log antennas” and other non resonant “broadband antennas”

As a rough rule of thumb resonant antennas are prefered because for any given sizing of resources they are more efficient.

The thing about resonant antennas is that half wavelength tells you within a few percent the likely frequency of operation, thus significantly reducing a search space.

A lot more can be learnt such as the gain of an antenna in the forward direction.

Very rule of thumb it’s

6-9db for a reflector, then the log base ten of three times the number of directors added. From this you can broadly work out the coverage area[1].

Anyway if you look up the design information for “Helical antennas” and use Google to over look the “Citidel” and get accurate dimensions you can work out fairly accurately one of the operating frequency ranges for the UK “Skynet” satellite system as well as other information, to see why watch,

[here is a mistake in the video, that takes us back to a posting made by our host some years back on “Aspidistra” and the “Diplomatic Wireless Service”(DWS) that I’ve also talked about in the past. Specifically the issue of Piccolo and Kaynard those operating such kit back in the 1980’s will know what it is, others can tell you about what 39 Sigs (SC) got upto.]

The video kind of explains why a certain US Vice President used to get upset about information that was in the public domain. Which as single items did not reveal clasified information but two or more could reveal by “join the dots” very secret information of real security significance.

Which brings us back to antennas, the thing about aerials of all kinds is that they usually have to be in the clear or open to be usefull. Also up and away from sources of man made interferance where possible. This usually makes them easily publically visable for quite some distance well beyond property boundries and the like. Thus they often fall into that “public information” category.

It’s one of the reasons for those “golf ball” covers[2] you’ve probably seen “iconic pictures” of. Oh and another reason why so much money was spent on developing “Electronically Sterable Phased Array Antennas”…

But as I said at the begining it’s very much the concern of ALL security professionals these days not just the numpty NatSec types. It’s time ICTsec professionals stepped upto the plate / line on this and became serious competitors, because those with the darker shaded fedoras are well ahead on this technology currently…

[1] Be aware of multiple antennas that might be “stacked for gain” there is a trick deployed during “The battle of the beams” during WWII and later aeronautical navigation systems, where each antenna would transmit a different signal, and it was only where the beams very narrowly overlapped where the “true signal” was heard. Back in the days of “Low Probability of Intercept”(LPI) was used the idea of using truely random signals for “Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum”(DSSS) was used. In effect only a receiver in the very narrow area where the beams crossed would get the “True Signal” in all other places it would look just like the lifting of the noise floor. More importantly the receiver did not need to generate a DS code or have synchronising circuits. Thus if a behind the lines person using it was captured or lost the equipment the enemy could learn very little from it. Easpecially as without modification in any way it would act as aeronautical navigation equipment that could be used for “clandestine drops” of equipment and personnel.

[2] It was not always “golf balls” there is a well known story of “The swimingpool that never was”. A Govetnment facility had a very large number of staff, thus an on site social club, that had a sports club. A story went around that the outdoor swimingpool was going to be “covered for all year use” and the following autumn construction work on an inflatable roof started… After the inflatable roof was up the pool opened for a short while. Then apparently “cracking” had been discovered and the pool had to be closed again… Much talk was made about the cost of repairs and things dragged on and on. Eventually enough money was raised to build a new fully indoor pool in a more favourable location and talk started about converting the old pool into an indore five-a-side / hockey etc pitch which likewise dragged on.

What later became known due to a fire was that infact the inside was being used as a radio post with several space vehicle tracking antennas… All hiden in sight under the inflatable swiming pool roof…

&ers August 19, 2022 1:11 PM


I too look at the antennas.

If you are interested in antennas on the roof on
our internal security service:



Clive Robinson August 20, 2022 3:00 AM

@ &ers,

antennas on the roof on
our internal security service

I’m not familiar with the roof construction style, it appears to be very large panels of corrugated sheeting laid on a frame, through which not just the antenna mounts but feeds get punched.

Sadly most of the parabolic antennas are facing away so the feed is not possible to see. The backs suggest they are of a “low cost” mass produced variety, and so may well be receive only of commercial satellite.

But note the “sun angles on them” are a little confusing suggesting the front of the building is facing North East. With one dish just behind the front facia facing almost East. On the other end of the facia is what looks like a single air conditioning unit for a smallish room.

As for the “Christmastree” of V/UHF antennas the photo resolution is low and I don’t have a size refrence. So little can be said other than the almost ailiased effect of the bottom antenna facing out of the front of the building suggesting it is a non mass produced item and could be a helical antenna due to the apparant director pitch.

Interestingly there appears to be no broadband antennas such as discones or similar so I suspect they do not have a “general watch” going on as part of the building security.

There are one or two others that look a bit “odd” from the shadowing but not enough resolution to say. But it makes many of the dish angles look “instinctively wrong” at first sight.

So I get the feeling that the photo was taken early on a Sunday morning in summer from a drone.

SpaceLifeForm August 21, 2022 3:17 PM

@ Clive, &ers

re: Antenna Watching

Interestingly, 3 days ago I noticed something that was not there before. For large values of before.

The other day, I drove by a high power transmission tower, and as I was quite familiar with it from 50 years ago having walked under it many times, and climbing on it a bit (not too high), I happened to pull into a parking lot to look at something else. While in the parking lot, I noticed something different about the electrical transmission tower comapred to 50 years ago.

This took some carefully planned engieering work, let there be no doubt.

The tower has 4 legs, probably carrying 230kV. It may be higher, I did not count the insulators, but I may.

What I noticed was that was a cell tower was built inside of it up to the top. The original top pyramid that originally held up the guard wire was displaced temporarily, and a series of tubes (sound familiar?), was stacked inside of the original electrical tower, and a 3-way cell tower was stacked on top of that. The guard wire was then placed above the cell tower equipment. The original pyramid no longer exists, the guard wire must be being held up with a pole.

At the bottom, is a small shed that must have the connections to ground based telco and the wires thru the stacked tubes to the top of the electrical tower.

This took some well planned helicopter work. Interestingly, just today, I spotted another power tower in the same configuration, with cell at top, about 4-5 miles away.

Clive Robinson August 21, 2022 5:57 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, &ers,

You might want to watch, this on 5G, it might be usefull as background,

However without more info, I’m kind of at a loss.

Though I must admit, this worries me somewhat,

“I noticed something different about the electrical transmission tower comapred to 50 years ago.”

The history of infrastructure construction in the USA, is shall I say generally a bit “short term” to many other places.

Even major infrastructure in the US can have a short expected life… 50years is often about as far as many roads, bridges, water control, sewerage, gas, and electrical power infrastructure is designed for…

As you may remember one of the 9/11 towers (WTC7) colapsed not because it was hit by an aircraft, but in all probability to major internal rebuilding by ripping out multiple internal floors and building “a building within a building”. Carried out on behalf of Salomon Brothers, they added over 300 tones of steel and much more concreat, that the original building would not have been designed for[1].

It’s been argued several times that WTC7 should never have been built the way it was. Further that the building had been designed to be “short lived” and may have already been past it’s “Best Befor Date”.

[1] The red/brown faced “7 World Trade Center”(WTC7) colapsed without good reason. Officialy parts of other colapsing buildings hit it and “started fires” which is fairly odd. These fires where no put out because the sprinkler systems were defective. Steel supports “softend” and a cascade failure resulted. What is known is that WTC7 was extensively remodeled in 1989 by Salomon Brothers, due to another office deal falling through. As part of that Much of three floors were ripped out, to construct three double height trading floors. All wilst other occupants continued to use the other stories. This work added 350 tons of iron work alone and much more concrete was added as well as nine heavy load generators on the 5th floor and new storage arangments for thousands of gallons of diesel fuel as part of a backup power station (remember the entire building was a strange design to start off with as it was built on top of an existing power infrastructure).

As was, voiced by a senior person working for Silverstein Properties at the remodeling time,

“Essentially, Salomon is constructing a building within a building – and it’s an occupied building, which complicates the situation”.

This caused some further press interest and thus the entire questionable proceadure according to WTC7s owner Larry Silverstein was only possible because the original design could allow,

“entire portions of floors to be removed without affecting the building’s structural integrity, on the assumption that someone might need double-height floors.”

If this was true or just “flimflam” is now unknown as NIST waved such concerns away.

The point is that the building had had some odd incidents long prior to 9/11 and was quite deficient in many ways. Not just the poor sprinkler system but also a lack of thermal insulation around steel work. Such that if a fire should happen the steel work should be good for atleast two hours, which it obviously was not. Leaving unknown why WTC7 started to burn the way it did in the first place (it should not happen with the design of such buildings).

lurker August 21, 2022 7:01 PM

@Clive Robinson

It’s tunnel vision, people being trained not to think outside their own box. I recently had an architect suggest plastic-foam-aluminium tiles for a residential job. He couldn’t understand my recoil in horror. Six months later, Grenfell Towers . . .

Winter August 22, 2022 3:24 AM

Splitting up to avoid black hole:

The Washington Post has a long article that is a strong reminder that these feared national intelligence services are not “better” or more effective than the society that produced them.

Funniest line:

The FSB did not respond to requests for comment.

Russia’s spies misread [attacked country] and misled [attacker] as war loomed

Winter August 22, 2022 3:25 AM

Split 2

Current and former Ukrainian security officials said fear about the loyalties of even senior personnel is a source of constant anxiety. One official said he reached for his phone on the war’s second day to begin calling subordinates to relay orders. But he hesitated as he dialed, he said, worried that his calls would go unanswered or reveal that senior lieutenants had thrown their support to the Russians.

He was stunned, he said, when those he called not only answered but followed orders with a precision and determination that were rare before the conflict.

“It’s a paradox of the Ukrainian state,” the official said. “It was believed, including by Ukrainians themselves, that there was a high level of corruption, inefficiency and infiltration of Russian agents in the Ukrainian government structures.” But after Feb. 24, he said, “they not only worked but also worked more efficiently than ever.”

Winter August 22, 2022 3:35 AM

Split 3


He and others attributed much of that resilience to the example Zelensky set with his decision to remain in the capital. His ability to do so was due in part to the existence of a massive bunker complex under Kyiv’s government quarter that was designed by Soviet engineers and built to survive nuclear conflict.


Winter August 22, 2022 3:37 AM

Split 4:

Everybody, Ukrainians, Russians, and every intelligence service in the world were stunned by the war. The Russian incompetence, ineptitude, and ignorance surpassed even the worst predictions made. The resolve, determination, and effectiveness of the Ukrainian response surpassed everything anyone could ever have dreamed.

The CIA did not see the collapse of the USSR coming, neither did their closest allies, e.g., the DDR. In the same vein, no one saw the humiliation of the Russian armed forces coming. The army that wanted to take on NATO has been unable to defeat in six months the army of a poorer country with 15% of the population and an economy 10% of its size.

As Joel Rayburn, a retired Army colonel, commented in the New Yorker [1]:

Imagine if [the Russian] invasion force had stumbled into Poland instead. The casualties that we’re seeing now are high enough, but the entire invasion force would’ve been wiped out.

[1] ‘

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