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US Navy collisions stoke cyber threat concerns

August 22, 2017 Leave a comment

The U.S. Navy warship USS John McCain, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer, seen here in a June 2014 photo as it is docked in the Philippines, suffered a collision with an oil tanker Monday near Singapore. Ten crew members are missing.

The Pentagon won’t yet say how the USS John S. McCain was rammed by an oil tanker near Singapore, but red flags are flying as the Navy’s decades-old reliance on electronic guidance systems increasing looks like another target of cyberattack.

The incident – the fourth involving a Seventh Fleet warship this year – occurred near the Strait of Malacca, a crowded 1.7-mile-wide waterway that connects the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea and accounts for roughly 25 percent of global shipping.

“When you are going through the Strait of Malacca, you can’t tell me that a Navy destroyer doesn’t have a full navigation team going with full lookouts on every wing and extra people on radar,” said Jeff Stutzman, chief intelligence officer at Wapack Labs, a New Boston, New Hampshire, cyber intelligence service.

“There’s something more than just human error going on because there would have been a lot of humans to be checks and balances,” said Stutzman, a former information warfare specialist in the Navy.

Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, did not rule out cyber intrusion or sabotage as a cause of the fatal collision. “No indications right now … but review will consider all possibilities,” Richardson said in a tweet on Monday.

It’s not the first time the Navy has suffered such an accident.

On Jan. 31, a guided missile cruiser, the USS Antietam, ran aground off the coast of Japan. On May 9, another cruiser, USS Lake Champlain, was struck by a South Korean fishing vessel.

In the wee hours of June 17, a destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, a $1.5 billion vessel bristling with electronics, collided with a container ship, resulting in the deaths of seven sailors. The commanding officer and two other officers were formally removed from duties.

“I don’t have proof, but you have to wonder if there were electronic issues,” Stutzman said.

Todd E. Humphreys, a professor at the University of Texas and expert in satellite navigation systems, echoed a similar concern: “Statistically, it looks very suspicious, doesn’t it?”

It was probably a signal that came from the Russian mainland.

Todd E. Humphreys, professor at University of Texas

These irregularities are affecting the shipping industry too.

In a little noticed June 22 incident, someone manipulated GPS signals in the eastern part of the Black Sea, leaving some 20 ships with little situational awareness. Shipboard navigation equipment, which appeared to be working properly, reported the location of the vessels 20 miles inland, near an airport.

That was the first known instance of GPS “spoofing,” or misdirection.

Much more serious than jamming, spoofing interferes with location even as computer screens offer normal readouts. Everything looks normal – but it isn’t.

“We saw it done in, I would say, a really unsubtle way, a really ham-fisted way. It was probably a signal that came from the Russian mainland,” Humphreys said.

Such spoofing once required expensive equipment and deep software coding skills. But Humphreys said it can now be done with off-the-shelf gear and easily attainable software.

“Imagine the English Channel, one of the most highly trafficked shipping lanes in the world, and also subject to bad weather. Hundreds and hundreds of ships are going back and forth. It would be mayhem if the right team came in there and decided to do a spoofing attack,” Humphreys said.

The U.S. military uses encrypted signals for geolocation of vessels, rather than commercial GPS. Humphreys said there is no indication that faulty satellite communications were a culprit in the USS McCain accident.

Global shipping also was disrupted following a worldwide attack June 27 that hit hundreds of thousands of computers. Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk was reduced to manual tracking of cargo amid the attack, and its chief executive Soren Skou this month announced losses of up to $300 million.

Most global trade occurs on the high seas, and the number of ocean-going ships has quadrupled in the past quarter century. Ships are also getting larger. The largest container ship now can carry more than 21,000 20-foot containers.

Autonomous ships operated by computers are on the near-term horizon. The world’s first crewless ship, an electric-powered vessel with capacity for 100 to 150 cargo containers, will begin a 37-mile route in southern Norway with limited crew next year, transitioning to full autonomy in 2020.

Most ships avoid collision through the use of a global protocol known as Automatic Identification System, or AIS. Beacons aboard ships transmit vessel name, cargo, course and speed, and readouts aboard ships display other vessels in the vicinity.

But the AIS system is known to be vulnerable.

“You can send an AIS beacon out and claim just about whatever you like. You can make a phantom ship appear,” Humphreys said.

It’s not just cargo carriers that rely on GPS and AIS beacons.

“Passenger shipping organizations and cruise lines … can be easily impacted,” said Eduardo E. Cabrera, chief cybersecurity officer at Trend Micro, a Tokyo-based cybersecurity firm.

Other factors can cause breeches on shipboard systems. Stutzman said crews rotate constantly, meaning shipboard log-on procedures are often simple and shared widely. Moreover, ship crews often download quantities of movies, books, and music while onshore to fight boredom while at sea, often linking to onboard networks and exposing them to viruses.

CORRECTION TIME: Scarborough, Navarro, many others share old Gorka story that says he was fired

August 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Fake news

Members of the blue-checkmark brigade are sharing an old AP story from May 1 titled, “Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka expected to leave White House, official says.”

Well, those officials were wrong back in May and it’s pretty careless of all these folks to share such an out-of-date article. Time for some corrections:

Petition to Declare Antifa a Terrorist Organisation Nears 150,000 Signatures

August 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Stunning rebuke of the MSM’s effort to embrace violent, alt-left group

| Infowars.com

A petition to formally recognise Antifa as a terrorist organisation is surging towards 150,000 signatures in a stunning rebuke of how the mainstream media has embraced the far-left group since the violence in Charlottesville.

Entitled Formally recognize AntiFa as a terrorist organization, the petition was created just four days ago and has already amassed over 144,000 signatures.

It reads;

Terrorism is defined as “the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims”. This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations. AntiFa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States. It is time for the Pentagon to be consistent in its actions – and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare AntiFa a terror group – on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety.

The petition has now obtained enough signatures to warrant an official response from the White House.

The political class and the media slammed President Trump after he accused both sides of being responsible for violence during the disturbances in Charlottesville last week.

Elements of the mainstream media have since embraced Antifa despite its vulgar history of using violence to censor free speech.

On Saturday, CNN acknowledged that it changed a headline accurately describing Antifa as violent because members of Antifa complained (despite them admitting throughout the article that they advocate and practice violence).

During this past weekend’s demonstrations in Boston, Antifa members doused police officers with urine, another favorite tactic of the alt-left. The media downplayed the assault.

Spike’s Brendan O’Neill summed up what now passes for being an “anti-fascist” in a Facebook post that has gone viral.

“So today being anti-fascist means destroying historic monuments, censoring people you don’t like, starting fires on campus to prevent people from speaking, calling for certain books, protests and flags to be outlawed, refusing to take a stand against gangs of violent misanthropes who’ve massacred hundreds of people for the crime of being free and believing in democracy, incessantly referring to everyone by their race, and having more sleepless nights over the Jewish State than any other state? Is that right? What next — show how anti-fascist you are by measuring people’s skulls before deciding if they’re a good or bad person?” he writes.

Scientists Remotely Hack Brain, Control Body Movements

August 21, 2017 1 comment

Scientists have discovered a way of secretly hacking the brains of human beings and controlling their limbs without their permission.

A team led by physics professor Arns Pralle, PhD, of the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences found a way to cause their test subjects to freeze in place and completely lose control of their bodily functions using a new technique called “magneto-thermal stimulation.”

Bgr.com reports: It’s not exactly a simple process — it requires the implantation of specially built DNA strands and nanoparticles which attach to specific neurons — but once the minimally invasive procedure is over, the brain can be remotely controlled via an alternating magnetic field.

When those magnetic inputs are applied, the particles heat up, causing the neurons to fire.

The study, which was published in the most recent edition of the journal eLife, includes experiments where were performed on mice.

Using the new technique, the researchers were able to control the movement of the animals, causing them to freeze, lock up their limbs, turn around, or even run.

Despite only being tested on mice, the research could have far-reaching implications in the realm of brain research.

The holy grail for dreamers like Elon Musk is that we’ll one day be able to tweak our brains to eliminate mood disorders and make us more perfect creatures.

This groundbreaking research could very well be an important step towards that future.

Lawsuit Claims Nestle Committed ‘Colossal Fraud’ On Public

August 21, 2017 1 comment

A federal class action lawsuit claims that Nestle is guilty of “colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers” by selling fake spring water to the public.

11 plaintiffs filed a suit on Tuesday in Connecticut, where Nestle HQ is based, complaining that they would not have paid a premium for the water had they known it did not actually originate from eight purported natural springs in Maine – as Nestle falsely advertise.

Courthousenews.com reports: Rather than being “100% Natural Spring Water,” the “products all contain ordinary groundwater that defendant collects from wells it drilled in saturated plains or valleys where the water table is within a few feet of the earth’s surface,” lead plaintiff Mark J. Patane says in the complaint.

“The vast bulk of that groundwater is collected from Maine’s most populous counties in southwestern Maine, only a short distance from the New Hampshire border,” the complaint continues.

As required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, all bottled spring water must be collected either at the source of a naturally occurring spring or from a well that draws from a natural spring.

“In hydrogeological parlance, all such well water must be ‘hydraulically connected’ to a genuine spring,” the complaint states. But the class says that’s not the case for defendant Nestle Waters North America’s eight sites in Maine.

Reacting to the lawsuit, a spokeswoman for Nestle Waters North America held true to the company’s slogan.

“The claims made in the lawsuit are without merit and an obvious attempt to manipulate the legal system for personal gain,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “Poland Spring is 100% spring water. It meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations defining spring water, all state regulations governing spring classification for standards of identity, as well as all federal and state regulations governing spring water collection, good manufacturing practices, product quality and labeling. We remain highly confident in our legal position.”

Patane claims that if the eight sites used to bottle water did contain a spring, and the Connecticut-based company bottles 1 billion gallons a year, the spring would have to flow at an average rate of 245 gallons per minute: more forcefully than a 2-inch-diameter fire hose at 40 pounds per square inch.

“Such a spring would be plainly visible – more like a geyser than a spring – and undoubtedly well known,” plaintiffs’ attorney Craig Raabe says in the 325-page complaint. “Yet there is no photographic proof that even one such spring – much less eight – exists on or near defendant’s sites in Maine.”

The plaintiffs say the famous Poland Spring in Poland Spring, Maine, ran dry nearly 50 years ago — decades before Nestle Waters bought the Poland Spring brand name. The “spring” Nestle claims exists in Poland Spring is at the bottom of a lake.

“It has never been proven to exist, and the evidence that defendant itself filed with Maine regulators shows it does not exist,” the complaint states. “Because the Poland Spring is not a source of its products, defendant’s use of the ‘Poland Spring’ brand name is unlawful.”

The class claims Nestle has gone so far as to fake the existence of springs on its sites “by causing well water to flow artificially through pipes or plastic tubes into wetlands that contain no genuine springs.”

“Artificial man-made ‘springs’ do not satisfy FDA standards,” the complaint states. “Genuine springs must have a ‘natural orifice’ through which water ‘flows naturally’ to the surface, without human assistance. By faking the existence of springs, defendant is defrauding its consumers,” according to the complaint.

Even worse, the class claims, are the conditions surrounding groundwater-collection sites.

“Unknown to the general public, one or more wells at each of defendant’s six largest volume groundwater collection sites in Maine – which in recent years have collectively supplied up to 99 percent of the water in Poland Spring Water products – are near a present or former human waste dump, refuse pit, landfill, ash pile, salt mound, farm where pesticides were previously used, fish hatchery or toxic petroleum dump site,” the complaint states.

“While Poland Spring Water products are not frequently contaminated because defendant disinfects – and in some cases has purified – the groundwater it collects, Poland Spring Water labels are misleading under FDA rules because, in addition to falsely advertising  that the bottles contain ‘100% Natural Spring Water’ purportedly sourced from natural springs, the labels depict pristine scenes of water flowing down a verdant hillside or a forest pond to  convey an image of natural purity when, in fact, the vast bulk of the water is drawn from wells in low-lying populated areas near potential sources of contamination. The labels are also deceptive to the extent defendant purifies the water. If consumers knew where defendant’s wells were actually located, rather than being misled by defendant’s falsely reassuring labels depicting pristine scenes, and knew the extent to which defendant treated or purified the water, they would not buy, or would not pay premium prices for, Poland Spring Water products.”

None of this appears to have damaged sales.

Poland Spring Water revenue nationwide was about $400 million in 2007 and has ranged from $300 million to $900 million annually for each of the past nine years.

The plaintiffs call it marketing fraud, which enables Nestle to sell its water more cheaply than competitors in the spring-water market, but charge more than those in the purified-water market.

They seek class certification, an injunction and at least $5 million in damages for false advertising, breach of contract, deceptive labeling and consumer-law violations.

Attorney Raabe is with Izard, Kindall and Raabe of West Hartford. Co-counsel from New Jersey, New York and California also signed the complaint.

In California, the federal government faces a suit for information on Nestle’s permit to pump millions of gallons of water from Strawberry Creek in San Bernardino National Forest. Nestle pays just $524 a year for the permit, which it uses to sell Arrowhead and Pure Life bottled water.

Bill Clinton Rape Victims Demand Statue Removal

August 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Former Bill Clinton rape victims have come forward demanding that a statue of him, erected in South Dakota, be torn down. 

As the far-left continue to erase history by removing ‘controversial’ monuments and statues across the country, real victims such as Juanita Broaddrick (who claimed she was raped by Bill Clinton in the 1970’s) are now fighting back against the madness.

Breitbart.com reports: “I would like to ‘personally’ use a sledgehammer on it, with the help of Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones,” Broaddrick told the American Mirror, referring to other alleged victims of Clinton’s sexual advances.

Jones backed up Broaddrick, saying she agreed with the call to pull down the statue to the man she says showed her his “crooked pee pee.”

“Yes I am 100% offended…and all WOMEN should be too,” Jones wrote on Facebook.

Clinton was impeached in 1998 by the House of Representatives for lying under oath and obstructing justice in relation to a sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. It was Jones’ sexual harassment suit that led to the Lewinsky revelations. Clinton was later acquitted by the Senate.

Others on Twitter backed Jones and Broaddrick, adopting the hashtag #TearItDown

 

Cloudflare To Ban Alternative Media From Their Platform

August 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Content delivery network Cloudflare has announced plans to ban alternative media outlets, conservative news, and independent journalists from their platform.

CEO Matthew Prince, a far-left Hillary Clinton supporter, has called for a ‘coming together’ of other Silicon Valley tech companies to “govern the internet” and act as moral gatekeepers online.

Techcrunch.com reports: This comes after a number of tech companies have revoked support for the neo-Nazi website for its close association with the violent far-right demonstrations in Charlottesville.

Seven-year-old Cloudflare took the step of cutting support for The Daily Stormer website on Thursday, which is notable as it’s the first time it has ever removed a customer from its service.

Far from energized by the decision, which saw Cloudflare follow in the footsteps of Google, Facebook, Apple, PayPal, GoDaddy, Spotify and others that took action, Prince voiced concern with a lack of a system to manage censorship decisions with consistency and objectivity.

“What I find troubling is that I woke up this morning and said we’ll kick them off our service and that will effectively kick them off the internet,” he told TechCrunch in a phone interview. “[The day] sucked and I worry we made an arbitrary decision.”

“If I’m self-critical, it’s a decision we should have a framework around,” Prince added. “How can we do it in a more disciplined and thorough and predictable and transparent way?”

Cloudflare’s primary service is a content delivery network that helps websites load quickly, but it also protects them against rushes of traffic, including DDoS attacks designed to knock them offline. The site claims to handle around 10 percent of the internet’s total traffic, with over six million websites using its products, which include free and priced tiers.

In the past it protected noble causes like pro-democracy websites in Hong Kong that were under huge attacks thought to be from the Chinese government, but it has often come under fire for a no-censorship policy that has seen its tech used by terrorists, hackers, scammers, and other undesirable groups since its launch in 2010. Prince has consistently pointed out that allowing free speech does not equate to supporting a cause.

“I know that Nazis are bad, the content [on The Daily Stormer] was so incredibly repulsive, it’s stomach turning how bad it is,” Prince explained. “But I do believe that the best way to battle bad speech is with good speech, I’m skeptical that censorship is the right scheme.””

“I’m worried the decision we made with respect to this one particular site is not particularly principled but neither was the decision that most tech companies made with respect to this site or other sites. It’s important that we know there is convention about how we create principles and how contraptions are regulated in the internet tech stack,” Prince added.

The Cloudflare CEO said he is aware that there’s no right answer in this situation, and he’s hopeful that the reaction to his company’s move — and the moves of other key internet stakeholders — can kick-start a debate on how to manage cases of hate speech and other abhorrent content on the internet using a system rather than one-off decisions.

“We didn’t just wake up and make some capricious decision, but we could have and that’s terrifying. The internet is a really important resource for everyone, but there’s a very limited set of companies that control it and there’s such little accountability to us that it really is quite a dangerous thing,” Prince added.

Cloudflare has worked with industry stakeholders on controversial content before. Its Project Galileo initiative engages NGOs and civil liberty groups to help define and identify free-expression outlets that are deserving of its support for their cause. That’s how it began working with pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong. Any new initiative, however, would be the polar opposite of Project Galileo — targeted at outing sites that should not exist on the internet, rather than those in need of protection.

Prince said he plans to speak to other stakeholders in the internet content space, but he admitted that he doesn’t have a definitive plan on what steps should be taken next. He’s still adjusting to the move that Cloudflare made, which represented an about-turn on its policy 24 hours earlier, he said.

Prince didn’t rule out expanding the ban on The Daily Stormer to other far-right websites, but he said he’d prefer to have a conversation or implement more structured thinking before making such a move.

“This is a very special situation and an exception that demands we sift through what the rules are,” he explained.

Prince admitted that Cloudflare had considered removing services from The Daily Stormer earlier this year after the site came to his attention following a ProPublica report published in May. The article revealed how the neo-Nazi site was using Cloudflare’s customer feedback policy to harass people who lodged complaints against its content.

That story led to Cloudflare altering its abuse policy, but it continued to serve the site despite its “abhorrent behavior.”

Prince said it decided to take action when, in addition to increased public opinion, Cloudflare noticed that The Daily Stormer was claiming that his company was aligned with the website at an ideological level.

“That was arguably libelous,” he said. “I said ‘Listen, I’ve had enough of these guys and they are just jerks.’”

“It became a distraction internally,” Prince added, explaining that The Daily Stormer was not a customer of note revenue-wise. “So much noise for one of 6 million customers occupying 20 percent of your brain space is inefficient.”

Now, however, he is hoping that the example of these “assholes” — as he described The Daily Stormer in an email to staff — can help in a positive way by enabling his company, and others that keep the internet running, to shape a more detailed policy to ensure that it is ready for what seems sure to be more run-ins with undesirable opinions and views online.

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