Archive for Technology

Most-Transparent-Administration-Ever Watch

Not Obama’s. Hillary’s!

The infamous Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer,” speaking exclusively with Fox News, claimed he easily – and repeatedly – breached former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email server in early 2013.

“For me, it was easy … easy for me, for everybody,” Marcel Lehel Lazar, who goes by the moniker “Guccifer,” told Fox News from a Virginia jail where he is being held.

Guccifer’s potential role in the Clinton email investigation was first reported by Fox News last month. The hacker subsequently claimed he was able to access the server – and provided extensive details about how he did it and what he found – over the course of a half-hour jailhouse interview and a series of recorded phone calls with Fox News.

Fox News could not independently confirm Lazar’s claims.

In describing the process, Lazar said he did extensive research on the web and then guessed Blumenthal’s security question. Once inside Blumenthal’s account, Lazar said he saw dozens of messages from the Clinton email address.

In the process of mining data from the Blumenthal account, Lazar said he came across evidence that others were on the Clinton server.

“As far as I remember, yes, there were … up to 10, like, IPs from other parts of the world,” he said.

With no formal computer training, he did most of his hacking from a small Romanian village.

Lazar said he chose to use “proxy servers in Russia,” describing them as the best, providing anonymity.

Cyber experts who spoke with Fox News said the process Lazar described is plausible. The federal indictment Lazar faces in the U.S. for cyber-crimes specifically alleges he used “a proxy server located in Russia” for the Blumenthal compromise.

Writing under his alias Guccifer, Lazar released to media outlets in March 2013 multiple exchanges between Blumenthal and Clinton. They were first reported by the Smoking Gun.

It was through the Blumenthal compromise that the Clintonemail.com accounts were first publicly revealed.

As recently as this week, Clinton said neither she nor her aides had been contacted by the FBI about the criminal investigation. Asked whether the server had been compromised by foreign hackers, she told MSNBC on Tuesday, “No, not at all.”

While Lazar’s claims cannot be independently verified, three computer security specialists, including two former senior intelligence officials, said the process described is plausible and the Clinton server, now in FBI custody, may have an electronic record that would confirm or disprove Guccifer’s claims.

“This sounds like the classic attack of the late 1990s. A smart individual who knows the tools and the technology and is looking for glaring weaknesses in Internet-connected devices,” Bob Gourley, a former chief technology officer (CTO) for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said.

Cybersecurity expert Morgan Wright observed, “The Blumenthal account gave [Lazar] a road map to get to the Clinton server. … You get a foothold in one system. You get intelligence from that system, and then you start to move.”

In March, the New York Times reported the Clinton server security logs showed no evidence of a breach. On whether the Clinton security logs would show a compromise, Wright made the comparison to a bank heist: “Let’s say only one camera was on in the bank. If you don‘t have them all on, or the right one in the right locations, you won’t see what you are looking for.”

Gourley said the logs may not tell the whole story and the hard drives, three years after the fact, may not have a lot of related data left. He also warned: “Unfortunately, in this community, a lot people make up stories and it’s hard to tell what’s really true until you get into the forensics information and get hard facts.”

The FBI is reportedly giving all this a thorough going-over. We’ll see. But we do know that Hillary was told not to hire Sidney Blumenthal. So she snuck him in on the sly. Along with a Romanian peasant and every other flea-bitten hacker curious enough to have a look at her server.

You don’t suppose there’s any connection between Hillary’s criminal mismanagement of her personal and professional communications and Russia’s and China’s resurgent territorial ambitions, do you? Obama’s sacklessness would have been on display, an engraved invitation to the ex-communist fascists to help themselves to Crimea and the Spratlys.

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Water, Water Everywhere, And Not a Drop to Drink!

But if you ask nicely:

A closed conference was recently held in San Diego between local officials and Israeli representatives, in which participants discussed the possibility of cooperation in the field of water technology innovation.

The conference was organized by Prof. Robert Sullivan, dean of the UC San Diego Rady School of Management, and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer together with his staff.

In calling the conference, Sullivan and Faulconer sought to learn directly about Israel’s experience in overcoming the challenges of drought.

San Diego, which is located in southern California and is home to 1.3 million people, has been suffering from an ongoing drought for the last four years, leading to serious problems in providing water to the residents.

The acute drought has led Californian officials to place an increased focus on trying to solve San Diego’s water problems.

A number of representatives from Israeli companies working in the California region were invited to the conference, including Mark Lambert, CEO of IDE Americas which recently established a seawater desalination facility in the area, and Dr. Maya Shimshoni of the BIRD Foundation for binational research between the US and Israel.

Zohar Yinon, CEO of the Gihon Company, presented participants at the conference with the structural changes and reforms in the Israeli water system that he was a part of, and also gave a survey of the work being pursued in implementing new water technology in California.

Why didn’t they invite anyone from Gaza? Same area, same challenges. Why the cold shoulder?

Okay, point made.

But I did a little sleuthing:

New York City and Jerusalem will work together to keep each other’s water supplies safe, according to a new agreement signed between the New York Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Jerusalem’s Hagihon water provider. Under the deal, the two agencies will develop defenses against “infrastructure terrorists” who target networks in order to interfere with the delivery of clean, safe water to homes and businesses.

But SCADA systems pose a major cybersecurity challenge, said Eugene Kaspersky, chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab. Speaking in Israel at a cybersecurity conference in June, the cybersecurity guru said that while hackers were currently using their talents to steal money, for the most part, sabotage of infrastructure – like electrical grids and water systems – was a major threat to governments around the world.

“There is an international army consisting of tens of thousands of engineers out there developing SCADA malware,” said Kaspersky. “One day, a terrorist organization is going to get the bright idea to acquire one of these tools and deploy it to make their ideological point. If it hasn’t happened yet, it’s just a matter of time until it does.”

Israel, known for its cybersecurity technology, is the right place to search for systems to defend against infrastructure attacks, said Zohar Yinon, CEO of Hagihon.

“This agreement will help us determine the criteria needed to defend systems against cyberattacks, and it will also give a boost to Israeli cybersecurity firms, enabling them to deploy their technology in the United States.”

The BDS crowd swears to abstain from anything to do with Israel, fearing Jewish cooties, I guess. Their loss—and their thirst. Two days ago, we learned it would be their blood loss, too.

But it’s not all charity and philanthropy for the Zohar:

Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, and Gihon, a Jerusalem-based water company, have reached an agreement concerning an unpaid water bill that totaled NIS 9 million ($2.3 million), after the company legally confiscated the patriarch’s bank account, Israel Hayom reported.

The conflict, which threatened to lead to an international crisis, began when Gihon demanded that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which the patriarch heads, pay for the water it was using despite a traditional exemption granted to the church before Gihon began supplying the water.

According to the agreement, which was formulated with the help of several government ministries and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, the church’s water debt from before 2004 will be considered outdated and cancelled. In addition, government ministries and the Jerusalem municipality will pay the remainder of the debt since 2004, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, through the three churches that manage it on a daily basis—the Greek Orthodox Church, the Franciscan Order and the Armenian Church—will cover the water and sewage payments from 2012 onward.

In recent meetings between Gihon CEO Zohar Yinon and Patriarch Theophilos III, which were mediated by Dr. David Koren, a close adviser of Barkat, it was agreed that the sides would work together more closely in the future and the church would establish a charity fund to help to pay the water bills of destitute city residents.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located within the Christian quarter of the walled Old City of Jerusalem. The site is considered holy as Christians believe it is the place where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and buried.

So? Ask Him to turn wine back into water, then.

He gets water free. Everyone else pays. Where do you think this is, Detroit?

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Lesson of the Day

While everyone is losing bladder and bowel control over the prospect of the Caliphate going nuclear, others are doing something about it:

An Israeli bio-tech company has developed an anti-radiation therapy that the US government will likely begin stocking next year, and which is able to cure 100% of patients exposed to unconventional radiological incidents like a terrorist dirty bomb, or an attack on a nuclear power plant.

Pluristem Theraputecs has developed a placenta-based cell therapy, which involves injecting patients who have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation.

Clinical trials have so far yielded a near 100% recovery rate for animals exposed to radiation, Yaky Yanai, President and Chief Operation Officer of Pluristem told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Obama apparently disagrees, but when the forces of evil draw us toward darkness, it is more imperative than ever that we and our friends hurtle toward light. Israeli and American technology (throw in the odd European) is the best weapon against the nihilism of bat-sh*t Islam. Of which this story is further proof.

“As a proud Israeli citizen, I can say that Israel is at the top of our priorities, and we are talking to Israeli authorities. We very much want to provide the level of defense that the Israeli people deserve,” he added.

Made in Israel, shared with the world.

PS: I pray, pray, pray that this therapy was developed in Judea or Samaria. Then the Europeans would have to boycott it in the event of an ISIS dirty bomb. I mean, they’d have to, right? No olives, no oranges, no thank you.

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The United Nations Embraces Israel

Hey, they say this is the season of miracles. Though I use “miracle” guardedly:

In a rare turn of events, Israel received almost unanimous support at the United Nations last week for its proposal to further the dissemination of agricultural and farming technology to developing African nations.

Despite of the humanitarian nature of the proposal, it was met with vehement opposition from representatives of Arab nations, including some that will be helped by the proposal.

Regardless of the aid the proposal would provide to African countries who are suffering from drought and malnutrition, Arab nations, some of whom sit on the United Nations human rights council, did not vote in favor of the proposal for political reasons.

“There were no votes against us, but there were a lot of abstentions. But even before the vote, the Syrian representative, as well as the Palestinian Authority representative spoke against the right of Israel to submit proposals to the UN. They tried to make the situation political, and take it out of the framework of helping people.”

Overall Danon viewed the proposal as an important achievement for Israel. “From a technological perspective it was certainly important. Many people in the UN are interested in Israeli technology and want to learn from us. It is something that I will be working hard towards promoting in the UN in the coming year.”

Israel, under siege and existential threat from Muslim nations in all directions, develops unique technologies to save the world, and then shares them. The world, undeserving though it is, gratefully accepts, with the exception of those Muslim nations seeking Israel’s annihilation. Though even they will benefit because the rest of the world, while dumber than dirt, is not blinded by hatred, and will happily take what Israel offers. You can see why I didn’t exactly trumpet this “miracle”.

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When the Growing Get Hungry, the Hungry Get Chicken

We shared with you our skepticism over the story that eating meat leads to one’s immediate demise. We smelled a rat (slow-cooked, with root vegetables) from the outset. We knew we were right when the group that issued the report admitted they were moved to slant earlier reports out of fear that people rising out of poverty (thanks to capitalism) would supplement their meager diets with protein-rich meat. And everyone knows meat equals global warming.

That’s one way to deal with hungry people: starve them.

Might I suggest another:

The challenge: How to feed the 2.4 billion additional people expected to join the global population by 2050.

Unlike the roughly 60 billion chickens world-wide now slaughtered for meat each year, these birds are raised for their DNA. Paul Siegel, professor emeritus of animal and poultry sciences, studies how their genes influence the way they pack on pounds and fight off disease. The research helps companies seeking to breed chickens that will grow faster on less feed and require fewer drugs to stay healthy.

“We’re talking about feeding the masses,” says Dr. Siegel, 83, who began breeding chickens as a teenager in the late 1940s. His office walls are lined with records charting 50 generations of chicken ancestry. “The question becomes, how do you get there?”

Producing more meat will be critical because protein is an essential component of the human diet, providing cells with amino acids that the body can’t produce itself. Individually, nuts and vegetables can supply some of those amino acids, but animal-based proteins typically deliver all of them—and history shows that people consume more meat as their incomes rise. Chicken is widely expected to be the main choice.

The liberal response to any problem is to run back to the pre-industrial age. That would be a shame. Billions would die. Frankenchicken could feed the world. Or the world could starve. I couldn’t care less, but liberals could. So choose.

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Rickrolling the Caliphate

What a great title for…something.

Based on a true story:

Anonymous hacked several ISIS Twitter accounts as part of its campaign, infiltrating the group’s #SupportISIS propaganda campaign by posting links disguised as Islamist – but which really link to UK singer Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” video from 1987.

The trick, known colloquially as a “Rickroll,” reignited Astley’s career in the late 2000s, after the prank became an internet staple.

Anonymous announced Wednesday that “Rickrolls” would be a strategic part of its campaign against ISIS, hoping users looking for jihadist material give up amidst a deluge of 1980s music videos.

I’ve been skeptical, but history shows there’s a role for satiric songs—Spike Jones’s “Der Fuehrer’s Face”, for example. But Spike Jones didn’t defeat Hitler. Millions of pounds of munitions, hundreds of thousands of grunts, a couple generals, and at least one gay computer scientist defeated Hitler.

Only the computers are the same (and perhaps a homosexual or two).

But if you’re going to tweak the Caliphate with 80s music videos, may I suggest one that will better ensnare jihadists than Rick-[bleepin’]-Astley?

By name and by sexiness (believe it or not), 1980s Paula Abdul will do more to trouble the terrorist mind than Wonder Bread Rick.

(Just don’t tell the jihadis that she’s Jewish!)

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And I Was Skeptical

I’m a believer now!

[UPDATE: Wish I’d said this: “These are not the 72 virgins they were expecting.”]

The hacker collective Anonymous claims it has already taken down 5,500 Twitter accounts in its cyber war against the militant group Islamic State (IS).

Anonymous released a video on Sunday saying they would “launch the most important operation ever carried out” against IS in retaliation for Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds.

Following the deadly attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo earlier this year, Anonymous launched a campaign dubbed #OpISIS to expose and destroy websites, social media accounts, and e-mail addresses of those it considered as affiliated with the terror group. Since then, it has claimed credit for shutting down several websites, and exposing e-mails, private networks, Internet addresses, and more than 9,000 Twitter accounts allegedly being used by Islamic State (ISIS) activists.

I’m still plenty skeptical—Anon failed the first time—but others have kept the faith:

Will the new intensified campaign by Anonymous really have any impact at all on IS?

“Cyberattacks can have a tremendous impact,” cyberwarfare expert David Gewirtz told CBS News. “Of course, they can’t be used to arrest people or take terrorists off the field, but they can certainly be used to compromise structural components of terrorist operations. More to the point, they can go after both the money that terrorists have and their funding sources. Damaging the money flow can certainly have an impact on the terrorists’ operations.”

The Caliphate has Seventh Century mores—the Koran—and a 20th Century income—oil. I’m not convinced cybersleuths with dopey masks really scare them.

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Need to Feed 9.5 Billion? Ask Me How!

We shared with you the fainting spell of an op ed piece by the Bowdoin professor whose panic over overpopulation had her urging less merging, if you get my meaning.

Here’s another approach:

One can’t help but wonder how we’ll come up with enough food for all.

These worries are not new. The world’s population grew from 1.5 billion in 1900 to 2.5 billion in 1950. Then, too, many feared that agricultural output couldn’t keep up. As late as the 1960s, people warned of a ticking “population bomb.” Yet, the “Green Revolution” in agriculture delivered new techniques and scientific approaches to growing food. In the last 40 years, we were able to double agricultural output without taking much new land into production.

We at Cargill believe the world can do that again. But it won’t just happen by itself. Just as we did in the second half of the 20th century, we have to keep innovating and using science and technology to get the most out of every acre. We have to build the infrastructure in the developing world to make that happen.

This is so-called “sponsored content” at the Washington Post. No talk of employing China’s coercive population controls on a global scale. Just rolling up the sleeves and getting on with it.

I say this as someone who buys organic food from time to time, but if your choice is between GMO food and no food at all, which would you choose? If you’re person number 9,499,999,999, you get the kale you get.

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Al Lo Dovar, Africa

Don’t mention it:

An Israeli space company, Spacecom, is developing its newest satellite for Facebook and French satellite provider Eutelsat, in a venture intended to supply free Internet to millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

The project is part of Facebook’s Internet.org non-for-profit initiative of providing affordable or free Internet to countries with limited or no access to what founder, Mark Zuckerberg describes as “the knowledge economy.”

Omri Arnon, Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at AMOS-Spacecom, explained that Israel’s interest in the initiative was not merely related to economics. In fact, the decision had much to do with the vast opportunity which can be afforded to the millions of new recipients who will, in the near future, be able to explore much of the world that has thus far been closed to them.

“Connecting people that have no connectivity to the Internet is one of the fundamental challenges of our time. When people have access to the internet, they can connect with their friends, family and communities,” Arnon said.

Moreover, the satellite will enable residents of sub-Saharan Africa to reap the economic and political benefits that will inevitably be generated with access to the Internet. Indeed, Arnon stated that the Internet service would enable “access to sources of information to help find jobs, start businesses, access healthcare, education and financial services, become part of the national and global economy, and have more influence on their societies.”

Facebook’s choice of Israel as the satellite developer will come as no surprise to some, with Israel already having proved that the geographical size of a country need not reflect the innovative capacity of its inhabitants.

In 2015, Israel was ranked fifth place on the Bloomberg Innovation Index which tracks the highest levels of the world’s research and development. This marked a huge climb from 30th place last year, setting Israel ahead of the UK, France and the US.

What’s that you say, Gaza? “The geographical size of a country need not reflect the innovative capacity of its inhabitants” applies to you, too?

Yes, you’ve got quite the space program too. As Tom Lehrer wrote:

“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down
That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun

PS: I suppose this would also qualify as one of our frequent Apartheid State Updates. Please consider it so.

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Cool Ocean-Current-Powered Water Filter, Hannah

Want to bring it to the White House?

Nah, forget it.

Hannah Herbst wants to bring renewable energy to the developing world.

The 15-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida, won this year’s Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for designing a probe to generate power and fresh water for developing countries by harvesting it from ocean currents.

She was awarded $25,000 and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” at a competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Herbst told Business Insider she was inspired by her 9-year-old pen pal in Ethiopia who has limited access to electricity. “I cant even imagine a day without electricity,” said Herbst.

Herbst’s energy probe is made of recycled materials and costs just $12.

It consists of a 3D-printed propeller, connected by a pulley inside a plastic PVC pipe to a hydroelectric generator, which converts the mechanical movement of ocean currents to usable electricity. She tested her device in the Boca Raton Intracoastal Waterway, where the current coming in from the Altantic Ocean produces a large amount of untapped energy.

Using her device, she was able to power a set of LED lights.

She calculated that if her design were scaled up, she could generate enough electricity to charge three car batteries at once in less than an hour. That’s enough energy to power saltwater desalinization pumps to provide a source of fresh water for developing countries. It could also power blood centrifuges for medical use, or coastal beacons for ship navigation.

That’s very nice, dear. But why can’t you be more like that nice boy, Ahmed?

It’s a pity when a smart, pretty girl, inspired by an African pen pal, invents something costing only $12 worth of recyclables that might improve the lives of millions of people, yet barely merits a mention in the press.

And a con-boy who stuffs the guts of an old Radio Shack clock into a briefcase and calls it an invention is feted as the next Thomas Alva Edison. Enjoy Qatar, Ahmed. I’ll take one Hannah Herbst over a thousand of you.

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Get Off a My Cloud

We already knew Russia had a go at Hillary’s email.

Turns out, there was a long line forming to the right (no cuts, China!)

Computer hackers in China, South Korea and Germany tried to attack Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server after she left the U.S. State Department in February 2013, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.

“It was not immediately clear whether the attempted intrusions into Clinton’s server were serious espionage threats or the sort of nuisance attacks that hit computer servers the world over,” the AP said, citing a congressional document.

The report said the attempted hacks appeared to have been thwarted by threat-monitoring product, although that was not installed for a period of three months, creating a window of possible exposure.

“Hillary exposed” is not an appetizing image. But it sounds like everyone’s seen everything:

A Connecticut company, which backed up Hillary Clinton‘s emails at the request of a Colorado firm, apparently surprised her aides by storing the emails on a “cloud” storage system designed to optimize data recovery.

The firm, Datto Inc., said Wednesday that it turned over the contents of its storage to the FBI on Tuesday.

Datto, based in Norwalk, Conn., became the second data storage firm to become entangled in the inquiry into Clinton’s unusual email arrangement, which has sparked a furor that has dogged her campaign. In August, Clinton and Colorado-based Platte River Networks, which had managed her primary server since June 2013, agreed to surrender it for examination by the FBI.

Datto and Platte River seemed at odds, however, over how Clinton’s emails wound up on Datto’s cloud storage, which may have resulted from a misunderstanding.

Platte River spokesman Andy Boian said the firm bought a device from Datto that constantly snaps images of a server’s contents and connected it to the Clinton server at a New Jersey data storage facility. Platte River never asked Datto to beam the images to an off-site cloud storage node and never was billed for that service, he said. Company officials were bewildered when they learned of the cloud storage, he said.

“We said, ‘You have a cloud? You were told not to have a cloud.’ We never received an invoice for any cloud for the Clintons.’”

What a hoot! “We didn’t say ‘cloud’, we asked you to turn down the music because it’s too loud!” I used to have a category Amateur Hour, but I didn’t use it often enough. I miss it dearly here.

PS: I hope Hillary didn’t smudge any fingerprints when she wiped her server, I mean, with a cloth.

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#WhiterThanWhite

How many characters do I get? 140?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…[etc]…!!!

The names of every black employee at Twitter could fit into a few tweets.

The tech company has only 49 black employees in an American workforce of 2,910, according to the company’s latest Equal Employment Opportunity report.

Across the board, its employment of most minorities deserves a “#dismal” hashtag — whites and Asians comprise 93.8% of Twitter’s workforce, with all other ethnicities represented by only a few dozen employees, if that.

This comes afer the company’s vice president of diversity and inclusion declared in a blog post last summer Twitter is “making diversity an important business issue for ourselves.”

Ironically, black users dominate the medium itself — 27% of black adults use Twitter, compared to 21% of white adults, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2015 especially, Twitter has proven an essential tool for the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the promotion of causes and demonstrations tied to it.

The company’s whitewashed employment stats have already drawn outrage from one black leader.

“I am very disappointed,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson told the Guardian Wednesday.

“Black people are greater users of the product and capable of doing the jobs, but there has not been an adequate commitment to hire, train and maintain (them).”

He added: “They hire people they know, they trust and like. We’re not in that the circle.”

OMG!!! Are you saying, Jesse, that Twitter folk don’t “trust” or even “like” black people?

SMH

Anyway, you’re not alone in being alone:

Twitter’s stats also shows a striking gender imbalance, with men making up 70% of its workforce.

There is a higher percentage of black Republican candidates for president than black employees at Twitter. And a higher percentage of women at BTL.com.

ROTFLMAO

PS: Alas, Aggie and I are as white as Rachel Dolezal, lol, but we do have self-identified blacks and Native Americans among our readers.

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