FACEBOOK; Data Breaches UNHACKED

Data Breaches are the new norm, we have just either forgotten the past cases, or didn’t care. Class Action lawsuits are a joke, the lawyers typically get millions while the clients get minimal cash and sometimes simply a coupon to buy more goods from the defendant.   The Facebook class action is already pooling with lawyers and an “Executive Legal Committee” which will be paid to monitor the merits, fees, billings etc… That’s right, a committee has already been appointed to get part payment of the fees that are likely to implode!

So how many Data Breach class actions are there?   Well there was/is Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, Adobe, Snapchat, Kaiser, Boston Medical, Ashley Madison, Equifax, Aetna, Anthem… etc. You get the point.   Hackers are everywhere and our information is constantly hacked.

So you are upset because Facebook used or sold or gave all the information you posted on your ‘About’ page and it was used to – gasp – determine your political bents. Really?   Did you know your Voter ID Card is visible to anyone on Google?   Or howabout the fact that the State and County where you reside posts all your property information and public record data – for anyone to view?   Or howabout Spokeo?   Or the dozens of organizations that, for a fee, will give you information on just about anyone you want to stalk?

Howabout the numerous companies that provide data details for corporations to use for marketing purposes or for sales purposes that were never ‘authorized’?   We used to buy lists at my firm!   Costs varied by the number of targets – 5000, 10,000, 100,000… How do you think you get on phone scam lists? Or junk mail lists?

Did Facebook release your medical records? Your Social Security Number? Your bank account information?   Your credit card data?

Forbes posted an article about the true nature of a class action lawsuit: 

  • In re Heartland Payment Systems Data Security Breach: Out of a purported class of 130 million customers injured by a data breach, 11 claims were paid for a total of $110,000. Lawyers’ take: $641,000.
  • DirectBuy litigation: Class members receive discounts on membership renewals from business that supposedly ripped them off; lawyers get as much as $1 million in fees.

Out of 148 cases that the RAND Corporation researched, the data for four gave the actual settlement statistics.   Lawyers and courts are NOT required to provide this information for the public.   Because in so doing, we might learn what a true ‘Joke’ the process really is.

Cyber attacks are big business, but not necessarily in the way we perceive.   The Veterans Administration alone has reported thwarting 1 billion cyber attacks.   The government has been hacked thousands of times.   Information is rampant.   In 2014, a single U.S. government agency was hit with a blizzard of more than 1,370 external attacks on its most vital computer systems, with three out of every eight incidents resulting in a loss of data, according to a new report by the watchdog Government Accountability Office.” The name of the Agency was not released.   The data was not discussed.

In the ADT Data Breach class action settlement of $16 million each client was awarded ‘up to $45’, while the remainder went to the attorneys.   When Anthem was hacked the lawsuit fetched $115 million – and the clients received ‘free credit monitoring for two years’, and, any provable out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the breach…

In the Target class action attorneys fees amounted to 67.5% of the award.   The stock initially sank 33.33%.   Someone shorted well.   Maybe that is a bigger Legal Issue!   Attorneys and Fund Managers are the winners.

What the lawsuits do is provide a venue for stock manipulation and shorting as the alleged breach is ‘leaked’ by an unknown person as in the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica case.    

DNC Hack Espionage…

Hillary’s private email server was secure… but the DNC, the State Department, US Military, the IRS, Anthem, Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase and the White House servers are breached continually by “suspected Russian hackers”, according to the FBI?   In fact, the breaches go unnoticed for upwards of a year before our top notch, super-duper, cyber security officials wake up…

How much do these security individuals make? Upwards of $350,000.

Who are the hackers?

Guccifer, the hacker who claimed to have breached Hillary, Colin Powell, members of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a host of prominent officials, had an IP address that was tracked to Russia.   Gasp, the FBI declared it was a Russian Hack Attack!  But he wasn’t Russian and he had no computer background whatsoever, he learned his trade from the Internet and sat in a remote town of Romania where he lived. So much for Intel.

Extradited to the US, he is supposedly languishing in Alexandria City Jail in Virginia. Although I imagine his services as a hacker are a negotiating talent, and his days will soon be fraught with champagne and caviar.

Guccifer 2.0 claims to be the newest DNC hacker with a physical address of “Eastern Europe”. So why does the media and the White House continually assert the blame on Russia?   Because it is a bit embarrassing to admit that your multi-million dollar security system was breached by a solitary individual just messing around for fun on a laptop. Pointing the finger at the Chinese government or the Russian government and decrying whimpers of ‘they were incredibly sophisticated’ sounds much more threatening and stirs up controversy and a ‘real enemy’.  Bahhhh.

The ‘hackers of the DNC’ had apparently been inside with full access for a year – or more. That’s pretty embarrassing. They breached financial data and emails. They made a mockery of the Democrat Party and their intense obsession with money, and they exposed the blatant hypocrisy of their arrogance.

DNC officials and the Hillary redirecting blame will probably surface in the next batch of hacked emails.

The FBI has actually made no allegation that the cyber attack came from Russia, the only source of this allegation is from – ta-da…Hillary. But the fact of the matter is, everyone is spying and hacking on everyone, because that’s what we do!   No one is secure, and no one is free of hackers. Period.

It reminds me of the stories my dad used to tell me about his days in East Berlin before the Wall when he was in Defense Intelligence. They routinely held ‘spook parties’. Spooks from every country, Britain, France, Australia, Germany, Russia, US, Canada, etc… would attend these soirees and pretend they didn’t know everyone was a spook.   Everyone would chit-chat and wait for the one who couldn’t hold his liquor to lose his tongue.  Having a flair for humor, my dad took to wearing a long black cape, a black fedora, and sport his faithful weapon – a riding crop. Of course, his gun was always a part of his attire as well.

Cyber hacking has become so commonplace, so easy, so ho-hum, and everyone is hacking each other. Obama’s plan to assert sanctions on countries who hack would be hypocrisy at its finest given we would have to sanction – ourselves.

A better plan? Find some decent Eastern European Romanians willing to work for the US government at ¼ of the going rate because it would seem they are better than the ‘experts’ being employed now.

Plan B? Don’t use your email account for slanderous juvenile memos. Create a new form of communication. Use code. And don’t be so incredibly stupid. Because everything you say – will be hacked, especially if you are in any way connected to the government, politics, and political donations. It’s a fools world. And if being within inches of the President makes you feel all warm and fuzzy? You really need a life…

Feels like junior high school at its finest.

APPLE vs The FBI

The Apple vs FBI controversy is gaining momentum and deserves a better overview. It’s implications are not nearly as simplistic as the media is framing:

The San Bernardino case is being used as the catalyst to require that Apple provide a backdoor for the FBI on all iphones in order to combat terrorism. Apple is refusing, claiming that it would be a violation of privacy laws. The media is divided.

The iphone in question is ‘encrypted’. That means that unless you have the key or code you cannot access the data. The encryption protects your personal data, it protects you in the event of theft, and it protects the data on your phone from being hacked. Just as your computer has security features for hacking protection.

There is also available a security feature that erases the data on the phone if the password attempt is incorrect after so many tries. The FBI is demanding that Apple create software that will allow them to correctly guess the password within the range of tries before the security feature erases the data. This software would thus work on any and every iphone – everywhere.

What is interesting is the notion that this feature would only be available to the FBI when in fact, software hackers around the world would be then able to then duplicate – replicate the backdoor and have access to CIA agents, FBI agents, police, civilians and governments…

Given the NSA, cyberwarfare and a technology future, why wouldn’t the FBI simply write the software program themselves? Have other countries already developed the software themselves? While the FBI claims that it is only interested in this one specific iphone (the San Bernardino terrorist’s), Apple has offered to hack the phone for the FBI for free – and still the FBI refuses, because in reality, what they want is access to all.

While Apple continues to state that it will personally hack this one particular phone and the FBI continues to state that it doesn’t want an all inclusive ‘backdoor’, no one seems to be moving forward. If in fact the FBI is not looking for a backdoor then why wouldn’t they accept Apple’s compromise to specifically hack this one phone?

Because words are being played.

According to CEO, Tim Cook, Apple does not have the capability to hack the erase feature of its security. Thus, in essence the FBI is asking for Apple to create a new piece of software that would disable this feature. While the FBI adamantly denies that is their intent, it would be the outcome.

This is not the first time the FBI has requested greater access to privacy. Currently, the FBI is required to obtain a warrant to hack a computer, but they have been attempting to steamroll that security as well.

The argument being misapplied is, “if you don’t have anything to hide, why would you care?”.

I care because it is a violation of our Constitutional right to privacy… The IV Amendment to the Bill of Rights states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

This is the basis for obtaining and issuing a warrant. Apple has stated it will hack into this one phone on behalf of the FBI to the best of their ability, but abridging the rights of all persons could actually subject Apple to lawsuits as being in violation of the IV Amendment.

Software is like an A-bomb – once created, it can be used for good – and it can be used for evil.

Giving the government unprotected access to everyone’s privacy without a warrant, or probable cause, is Big Brother, and I already have one, his name is Bobby.

Cyber Warfare – The New World War

Cyber Security Attacks are the mainstay – they come from every nation in the WORLD! It would appear that even the smallest, most obscure countries are cited as having cyber warfare capabilities. Attacks are fairly common on individuals, on identity theft, on governments and the military. Electrical grids are also a fairly common target, but this past Christmas was the first time that the attack on a grid was successful. It happened in Ukraine, and the malmare took out 3 towers and shut down electricity to 700,000 residences.

While the intention was for the attack to occur during the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations, apparently the hackers didn’t know that Ukraine celebrates Orthodox Christmas on January 7th. This would indicate the hackers were not informed of Ukrainian customs, ie Orthodox Christianity.

Security ‘experts’ love to point fingers as to who is the Hacking Team, when even in some of the more unsophisticated instances the source could not be determined. Speculations are rampant and usually refer to whomever is the latest craze of bad guy. There was never any evidence to support the Sony hack coming from North Korea, but they are a bad guy and so the US accepted the accusation as proof positive.

I imagine the hackers get quite a laugh at the schoolkid routines, ‘who’s on first’ type of deductive reasoning.

There is a hacking tool readily available online that allows the user to hack an auto’s controlboard. It costs $25. This is something anyone can utilize.  And most likely have.

For years, individuals in Ukraine were hacking into hundreds of US companies giving them insider information for Wall Street trades. They made over $100 million, it took an informant to get the US onboard despite a trail of cyber attacks, and four of the men involved have still not been found.  That is not – good.

It’s a schoolyard bullying tactic of you hack me and I hack you back times 10. The US hacks and nothing, Germany, France, UK, China, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ukraine, EVERYONE has joined the party. So what can a country do? It can upgrade its poor systems and hire the best of the best to mitigate and try to be one step ahead at the very least. But everything we do, everything we own, everything that comprises our daily life is now governed by computers vulnerable to hackers.

Russia claims that the slippery slope of cyber warfare included 57 million attacks it suffered last year. Government officials are banned from using Google and WhatsApp as a result and Russia has begun the process of creating its own parallel networks to operate alongside the public internet in order to safeguard from attacks levied from ‘abroad’. This will serve to enhance security while allowing global connectivity.

The US still lives within a punitive instead of solution based reaction. Sanctions against countries appear to our deterrent, which of course, has absolutely no effect whatsoever because a) we don’t know who is really doing the hacking and b) the countries just don’t care anymore – sanctions are primitive at best.

While we threatened China and we threatened Russia and we threatened North Korea, we didn’t threaten anyone else. Why?   Have our threats resulted in a lessening of attacks?  Not even close!

When we know that cyber warfare is very real and very threatening, why don’t we acknowledge that it can come from within our allies, ourselves, our coups, and beyond? What good is sanctioning? It attempts to define an evil and thus give us a source of hatred, but it doesn’t – solve the problem!

It’s the same logic we use when looking at inserting Muslims into assimilation within the US. While we say that not letting them in will only give them the impetus to join ISIS, we fail to understand that isn’t a good deterrent…  as in promise you won’t behead us and we’ll let you live off welfare forever.

Our logic has and is failing miserably.

How is it that we, the greatest economy in the world, are failing at cyber warefare? For one thing, we didn’t anticipate, we saw the threat as small, and we underestimated its potential. Trying to catch up to our competitors when they are far advanced in their IT capabilities is much like chasing a flood with one sandbag. It might deter one or two drops, but the damn – she is a flooding!

In the meantime – pointing fingers and slapping on sanctions is like swatting a dinosaur with a flyswatter. Ain’t going to happen.