Tag: Facebook

Mar 19

Facebook, Malware, the NSA and You

Cross posted from The Stars hollow Gazette

Snowden Docs Expose How the NSA “Infects” Millions of Computers, Impersonates Facebook Server

New disclosures from Edward Snowden show the NSA is massively expanding its computer hacking worldwide. Software that automatically hacks into computers – known as malware “implants” – had previously been kept to just a few hundred targets. But the news website The Intercept reports that the NSA is spreading the software to millions of computers under an automated system codenamed “Turbine.” The Intercept has also revealed the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive. We are joined by The Intercept reporter Ryan Gallagher.

How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware

By Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking efforts operates from the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and from eavesdropping bases in the United Kingdom and Japan. GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, appears to have played an integral role in helping to develop the implants tactic.

In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive. In others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.

Mark Zuckerberg calls Obama after NSA report

By Alex Byers, Politico

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called President Barack Obama Wednesday night to complain about U.S. government actions that are undermining trust in the Internet, after a report that described how the National Security Agency posed as a Facebook server to inject malicious software into targets’ computers.

“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. “The U.S. government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.” [..]

Zuckerberg did not make direct reference to the report in The Intercept. But he said he expressed frustration to the president about the “damage the government is creating for all of our future.” He added, “Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.”

The NSA has denied doing any of this which flies in the face facts revealed in it’s own secret documents. Ryan Gallagher discusses those documents

A particular short excerpt from one of the classified documents, however, has taken on new significance due to the NSA’s statement. The excerpt is worth drawing attention to here because of the clarity of the language it uses about the Facebook tactic and the light it shines on the NSA’s denial. Referencing the NSA’s Quantum malware initiative, the document, dated April 2011, explains how the NSA “pretends” to be Facebook servers to deploy its surveillance “implants” on target’s computers:

 photo bdfff3e7-59be-46c9-9b11-8f6e896cc7b1_zps2834372e.png

It is difficult to square the NSA secretly saying that it “pretends to be the Facebook server” while publicly claiming that it “does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.” Is the agency making a devious and unstated distinction in its denial between “websites” and “servers”? Was it deliberate that the agency used the present tense “does not” in its denial as opposed to the past tense “did not”? Has the Facebook QUANTUMHAND technique been shut down since our report? Either way, the language used in the NSA’s public statement seems highly misleading – which is why several tech writers have rightly treated it with skepticism.

The same is true of the NSA’s denial that it has not “infected millions of computers around the world with malware” as part of its hacking efforts. Our report never actually accused the NSA of having achieved that milestone. Again, we reported exactly what the NSA’s own documents say: that the NSA is working to “aggressively scale” its computer hacking missions and has built a system called TURBINE that it explicitly states will “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants).”

Oct 25

It’s The End Of The Internet As We Know It (And Orrin Hatch Feels Fine)

Cross-posted to CandyBullets, MyLeftWing, The Stars-Hollow Gazette and firefly-dreaming

If you follow my website (CandyBullets) you’re probably well aware of the threat posed by the “IP PROTECT ACT” known more commonly as the Internet Blacklist bill. You’re may also be aware that this bill was recently halted in the Senate by the true Democrat Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who prevented the bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate (where it would doubtless pass) however a House version will be introduced this week with help of Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) — probably tomorrow. If you’re not familiar with this bill then I suggest you become acquainted (the full text of the bill may be found here.)

Feb 11

Facebook Thought

To what extend does Facebook monitor pages for anti-corporate rhetoric?

http://www.google.com/#sclient…

Can your boss fire you for Facebook comments?

http://www.google.com/#sclient…

And on to more relevant stuff which warms my heart.

Feb 06

TWiEC: Winds of Change in the Middle East – as Seen By Foreign and American Editorial Cartoonists

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette



Walk Like an Egyptian by Dwayne Booth, Mr. Fish, Buy this cartoon  

It’s spontaneous, yes, triggered by the explosion in Tunisia.  But contrary to some media reports, which have portrayed the upsurge in Egypt as a leaderless rebellion, a fairly well organized movement is emerging to take charge, comprising students, labor activists, lawyers, a network of intellectuals, Egypt’s Islamists, a handful of political parties and miscellaneous advocates for “change.”  And it’s possible, but not at all certain, that the nominal leadership of the revolution could fall to Mohammad ElBaradei.

— ‘Who’s Behind Egypt’s Revolt?’ by Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation

Jan 28

Zuckerberg, the Accidental Emperor of Facebook

With each passing day, the Facebook phenomenon looms larger as a precursor of a global networked society. It is such a potent political organizing mechanism that it has been central to the recent upheavals in North Africa, and it may prove instrumental in bringing down multiple dictatorships. But the most important story about Facebook is the one that nobody in the American media is willing to write. It is the story of an accidental emperor.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is the world’s youngest Billionaire. At the tender age of 26, he personally controls the development of a global digital social network that is increasingly taking on the characteristics of a political entity. It is easy to conceive of Facebook creating its own currency, citizenship regulations, and judicial and legislative structures. Yet all of these profound potential developments are under the control of a callow young man who stumbled into fame and fortune by building a wildly popular Internet service.

Zuckerberg’s character is that of a bright super-achiever, intensely focused on growing a business. He has no interest, aptitude, or concern for governing a political institution. Indeed, his current focus is on raising vast sums to fuel further growth of Facebook. The frightening fact is that Zuckerberg doesn’t really care what Facebook becomes, as long as it becomes the world’s dominant social network. In this respect, he is quite similar to Bill Gates, who was once another young hyper-achieving billionaire. Had it not been for antitrust actions brought against Microsoft in America and Europe, Microsoft might have crowded out every competitor and put a virtual coin box on every desktop computer in the world.

Unlike the case of Microsoft, there is nothing to stop Facebook from becoming the defacto precursor of an Internet world government. This government would not be a democracy; it would be an empire, and its emperor would be 26 year old Mark Zuckerberg. What is wrong with a profit-seeking corporation, led by a super-competitive businessman, creating a global Internet social network? The problem is that corporations are not designed to govern people. They have no interest in justice or the public good. Corporations are profit-seeking engines narrowly devoted to the interests of the stockholders. In the case of Facebook, Emperor Zuckerberg controls the stock.

It is a peculiar irony of contemporary American politics that it is increasingly dominated by corporations at a time when the model of the corporation is increasingly unsuited to solving global problems. The environment is being poisoned by the toxic effluents of corporations that view pollution as an “externality.” Economic inequality is increasing everywhere as corporations tear down social safety nets and take over legislatures through bribery disguised as campaign contributions. Organized labor is being crushed by corporations intent on minimizing wages. Financial markets are destabilized by unchecked corporate greed and unlimited bailouts. The biggest corporations are not only too big to fail; they are too big to jail, and they flout the laws with impunity.

So behold Emperor Zuckerberg, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus, and we poor citizens of his empire hope for justice and mercy. What will he decide to do to us tomorrow?

Sep 21

We Will Be Watching: Victory for the DREAM Act

Originally posted at Citizen Orange.

The fate of almost a million lives could be decided in the next six hours.  As a voter, as a millenial, as a migrant, as a Guatemalan, I’m writing to say that I will be watching along with the vast majority of those who will determine the future of the United States of America. 

If you already haven’t heard already, Harry Reid is going to offer the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act up as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.  The Senate is scheduled to vote on taking up the Act tomorrow at 2:15 p.m.  If you haven’t called you’re Senator yet in the support of the DREAM Act please do so now by calling:

888-254-5087

It is imperative that you focus on these Senators.  If you’ve called already, call again.  If you’ve called again, ask five friends to do the same.  If you’ve done all that, here are some more actions you can take.

Sep 10

Disabled Vet: Contractors Should Be for Cafeteria Services That’s It

We had a great time last night in a Q+A with John Waltz, a disabled veteran and Progressive who’s running for Congress in Kentucky’s 4th district. This answer cracked me up and at the same time made me yell out.. RIGHT ON!

Spandan Chakrabarti John, another question about the military, specifically defense contractors. I understand some are needed, but how do you view the Bush era explosion in defense contracting and contractors who operate outside the UCMJ, and is there a way to rein them in?

John Waltz  When you privatize military functions, you’re creating an incentive, specifically a profit, to go to war and stay in war. Use of military contractors should be kept to an absolute minimum. Maybe cafeteria services and that’s about it.

The full Q+A is below the fold

Crossposted to the Daily Kos and Progressive Electorate

Aug 23

The Week in Editorial Cartoons, Part I – BP’s Soup Recipe

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette

John Sherffius

John Sherffius, Comics.com (Boulder Daily Camera)

Note: Due to a deluge of editorial cartoons over the past week or so, I’m going to, time permitting, post Part II of this weekly diary in the next few days.  In addition to some of the issues covered in this edition, I’ll include more cartoons on the floods in Pakistan, the withdrawal of combat U.S. forces in Iraq, and Rupert Murdoch’s $1 million contribution to the GOP.

Jun 07

Take action on the BP disaster: protests near you (including national events on 6/12 and 6/26)



(Image from Greenpeace)

Hello all – hopefully I can make this into some kind of a short series or get someone to help me with this, but if not you’ll probably see at least one more diary on the subject from me.  Basically, here’s a post where I’m trying to assemble all the information for protests that you need to know in order to take action against BP and for some kind of a clean energy future.

Go below the fold for a list of events/websites/facebook pages/etc.

(Just because of my own time constraints, I’ve only listed events in the US)

May 25

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – BP’s Brilliant PR Move

Crossposted at Daily Kos

THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::



John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Mar 17

Newspapers are Folding, and We’re Part of their Problem!

The fact that Newspapers are folding, left and right, is hardly News. It’s a long-term trend playing out, due to the ‘Market Forces’ of the Internet.

What is News is the effect that Internet Bloggers (aka Citizen Journalists) are having on the long, slow fade of “Traditional” News.

It seems fewer and fewer people are willing to pay for their News, these days — and WHY should we when we can find it FREE on-line, often with a dash of humor and wit throw-in, for free too!

One Problem though — Bloggers to maintain credibility, have this little habit of citing those very same “Traditional” News Sources who are quietly fading away, as we speak Type.

I think there is a “Chicken and Egg” thing going on here — just few of us have yet to realize it.

Could be someday we go out to get our Information Breakfast — and it turns out that both “nutritional items” have turned up MISSING! (the Blogger and the Source)

Feb 26

The AFA has turned Cowardly 20100225

Well, the American Family Association, that bastion of truth, has stopped taking its own comments from users.  To comment there, now one has to sign up for a Facebook account or your word is not noted, nor can one read other comments.

I am not completely surprised, but I thought that they might be more honest a site, like ‘Dharma and Kos.  But, then again, no.

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