Fake News – the ultimate war machine

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Israel – Pakistan – fake news- nuclear war

This holiday weekend brought warmth, cheer, celebration and happiness to most, but this past holiday weekend also brought the threat of nuclear war, to the entire world.

The threat was all brought about by one fake news article.

The article that started the spat was published by AWDNews on December 20th, it stated that former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon was quoted as threatening to destroy Pakistan if it sent troops into Syria.

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So, Pakistan Defense Minister Khawaja Asif responded in kind on twitter by tweeting; “Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh.Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too AH.”

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif thought the original article to be real sadly.

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So, in response to Pakistan Defense Minister’s tweet, the Israeli Ministry of Defense responded in kind on Twitter, notifying Asif the Yaalon statement quoted in AWDNews was as you might imagine, completely false.

Pakistan Defense Minister Khawaja Asif again took to Twitter on Christmas night, saying that their nuclear program was only a “deterrence to protect our freedom.”

He did say that his country desired only to coexist in peace…

A lot of people missed the entire spat because they were wrapped up in the holiday spirit and the fake news article did exactly as it set out to do.

It wasn’t about creating worldwide panic, it was to test the waters.

See how far it could push a country to the edge and incite a knee jerk reaction before reason.

Fake news has made headlines these past few months and it has been blamed with affecting real events around the world.

That is, in the grand scheme of things all fake news sets out to do if you are paying attention.

Fake news wants a knee jerk reaction to every article and story that is put out and it is pretty much hugely successful in that endeavor.

It depends on us being gullible, to be persuaded to believe something because in all reality some of it, we want to believe.

It is successful for a variety of reasons the point is, it is speaking to a world that is listening and proof of that is through the threat of nuclear retaliation over something that was never truly said.

Fake news is posting articles that people want to believe. Plain and simple.

It creates an emotional response without reason, which is human, no one researches the article before responding and fake news depends on that and fake news is successful because of that.

The question of the day is simple, how far is too far in terms of fake news?

I could spend a good day alone on my Facebook turning over fake news articles from everything from pet care to celebrity news and still not make a dent in it.

Facebook although I love it, is the biggest offender of allowing fake news to slide right in, of all of the social media giants but… is Facebook to blame?

Really?

No, Facebook is not to blame, it is the users that are to blame, those that choose to share the fake news articles, not the social media giant itself.

Facebook is a free service, and therefore they should not be tasked with policing users aside from those that legally are not allowed to be on social media, threaten other users and those who are suicidal. 

What’s more is that some ‘leaks’ have been disguised as fake news and have informed a public of actual facts.

And that further complicates the issue of fake news. 

To me, a fake news article crosses a line when it incites the possibility of nuclear war, violence and harm to others.

That leaves the very loud question, will governments eventually start to hunt down these fake news sites and shut them down much like they shut down parts of the dark web or will governments continue to let them go?  

Because it is not controlled, releases both true and made up news, fake news is the ultimate war machine currently.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop on twitter

And https://gab.ai/thecrimeshop

 

NSA hack an inside Job

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or is the Russian Government using hackers to breach everything

A newly published article today accuses Russian hackers of breaching the Olympic drug testing agency…

Many assumed that Russia was behind the hack of the DNC.

Headlines last Friday suggest that Russia has hacked The Donald’s campaign.

Everyone assumes that Russia is behind the hack of the NSA and Edward Snowden has reportedly issued a statement that indicates Russia was most likely responsible for the hack at the NSA.

What the hell haven’t they hacked? Wait, they have not hacked Starbuck’s making it so that I have a lifetime supply of coffee.

It could have been Russia who by the way denies any involvement in these hacks.

What was the loot in the NSA hack?

Well as it so happens the hack exposed cyber-weapons intel. That intel reveals just how the NSA hacks suspects and enemies and further details a tracking code that just so happens to reveal the fingerprints of the NSA’s malicious software.

So we really have to wonder what Russia might have to gain if they are truly behind the hack of the NSA? I mean the DNC might have been a just for fun type of thing if Russia was behind it, but what about the NSA? Does Russia feel the NSA had at one time infiltrated them and downloaded some type of malicious software?

To fully understand that, you need to get to know The Equation Group and TAO, two branches of the NSA.

Kaspersky labs describes The Equation Group as “one of the most sophisticated cyber attack groups in the world.” The Equation Group according to Kaspersky labs has operated alongside Stuxnet and Flame.

TAO identifies, monitors and has a nasty little habit of infiltrating and gathering intelligence on computer systems used by foreign entities to the US.

Anyone who has seen the Stuxnet documentary knows that it is widely believed that Stuxnet was created jointly by the US and Israel.

Which makes total sense because Israel is reportedly 15 years ahead of everyone else in terms of Cyber-Defense and Security.

Russia however, was one of the named 42 countries that the Equation Group infiltrated over the course of its 14 year project creating backdoors to foreign Government networks.

Not only did the Equation Group create backdoors, they also seemed to enjoy intercepting hardware from IT companies, globally.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Equation Group has a pretty good reputation for using strong ENCRYPTION methods. They just can’t seem to figure out a way around encryption when folks like Apple create it for consumers to use.

So who kicked in the door at the NSA?

A group called Shadow Brokers took the credit for hacking the NSA. Things got a little crazy when they came out because they boasted rather audaciously and offered to auction off the goods for $576 Bitcoins.

Bidders backed way off and the general consensus has been that those responsible for the breach were not just some run of the mill hackers but a foreign Government, hiding behind the idea the breach was caused by a group of nobody hackers.

From that, another theory sparked a lot of interest and that was, that someone inside of the NSA was in fact responsible for the leaked intel.

Out of all of the theories, this is actually what more than likely happened.

The NSA stores sensitive information on air-gapped networks, which are networks that are not connected to the internet, i.e. the outside world. They also have other security measures, not to mention despite being a pain in the ass to crack, it’s still doable.

They can be cracked through the use of undetected malware, cell phones, as Edward Snowden proved a flash drive, even a sim card can do the trick.

The point is, it’s pretty clear that the responsible party is within the ranks at the NSA.

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Now, I am not saying that I am convinced that Edward Snowden had anything to do with it however…

A strange sequence of events happened shortly before the breach.

On 8/5, Edward Snowden reached out through Twitter, with an odd message to those that knew him or who ever worked with him asking them to contact him followed by 64 characters of code. That message lead many to believe that Edward had been captured or killed and failed to do a check-in prompting his account to send out a dead man’s switch. His account went silent after the odd tweets.

Shortly after that, at least 8 torrent sites had been taken down or slowed. The sites are well known to distribute large files.

News of  the hack and leak at the NSA broke on 8/15

Edward Snowden began tweeting again on 8/15

Edward Snowden seems to think that the Russian Government is behind some of these hacks and has said as much through the media….initially it was almost as if he was handing out the idea like we hand out candy at Halloween.

And I, don’t believe in coincidence.

I also don’t believe that the Russian Government was behind the hacks. It’s too neatly wrapped with the bow neatly tied on top.

Blaming the Russian Government seems too easy, too perfect and too convenient.

The hack came from the inside and the NSA just got owned again.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

ISIS is planning attack on US air bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain

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That’s according to an Israeli cyber-intelligence group who have reported to media sources that they have breached Telegram group on the dark web, which is run by jihadists.

It is rumored that the Islamic state uses Telegram to organize operatives and to disseminate terror attack plans among 500 of its leading activists.

According to the Israeli company who breached Telegram, the Islamic State uses the site to upload potential targets to the group. They reported that in recent months some of the targets have been hit by individuals claiming allegiance to the terror organization.

One of the targets found during the hack was the recently attacked church in Normandy, France where Father Jacques Hamel was murdered by the terrorist group. The Israeli cyber-intelligence group says that the attack on the church was planned months ago according to communication found on Telegram.

This brings us to cyber-intelligence/cyber-security, you can’t have one without the other and quite frankly, the US is falling way below the bar on both fronts.

Both Israel and Russia are reported to be two very powerful forces in terms of cyber-intelligence, cyber defense and cyber-security. China, North Korea, Iran all rank higher than the US.

In fact, Iran is considered a dangerous cyber threat to the US.

ISIS is using the dark web to communicate with its followers. ISIS is not the only extremist group using the dark web for communications either.

Our country would be best served if our Government would better align themselves with countries who are more capable at cyber-intelligence and security and the cyber-security firms in those said countries. We are all better served if we could learn to work together with these other countries and firms to fight the war on terror and to thwart cyber related crimes in general.

Think about it, other countries have surpassed the US when it comes to both cyber-intelligence and cyber-security for years and we don’t seem to be moving at all. These other countries have also set up cyber defense and the programs they have are not for the faint of heart.

Today Business Insider ran a story with a headline stating “The terrible recovery from the Great Recession is due to Congress’ economic incompetence.” I bring that to your attention because it is in fact true, Congress is out of touch with the realities of our world on all fronts, that includes cyber security, intelligence and defense. 

The media is partly to blame here as well, I mean if the FBI asks for a change to a law the media  makes it out to be the NSA is spying on all of us all the time…

Recently the FBI did ask for a change to the a law that pertains to being able to access someone’s browsing history and other electronic data for certain types of suspected crimes.

Of course the media had a field day with it, they lead everyone to believe the FBI was going to be able to access browsing history from anyone and everyone, all history, see the sites you visit, the pages on those sites and who knows what else…turned out that was not even close to what the FBI could actually access if they had been granted the change and the request was denied, rightfully so.

The reality was, the intel they could have obtained from this change was so rudimentary it amounted to basically the FBI obtaining no useful intel at all. The intel the FBI would have gotten was so rudimentary it would have been a waste of time.

The fact is, between all of us throwing fits over our “rights” which we completely take for granted and confuse with privilege, the media blowing things out of proportion and congress’ incompetence when it comes to cyber-intelligence and security, it is no surprise that we aren’t even close to the bar in terms of cyber defense.

Then we have encryption, I am not against it and I am also not for it when a crime has occurred. I believe that ways around it are needed when you are dealing with an ongoing investigation. I also believe that if our government has ways around it, which I agree at times they should, we need oversight so that, that power it is not abused.  

We want our government to protect us and be able to defend us from cyber attacks of all levels and kinds,  and we want them to be able to thwart terrorist attacks, yet we are the first to accuse them of taking away our rights and freedoms if they come up some new tool to us to obtain data intel which is part of cyber security.

We refuse to meet in the middle and we refuse to better align ourselves with other countries who are far more superior to our own with cyber defense and capabilities.

A lot can be said for the argument that some things a government does should be kept secret from it’s citizens because sometimes the citizens of that country are simply not ready to know or come to terms with the truth.

Our government needs to be able to learn and utilize tools as much as they can without the media or us citizens assuming they are spying on us. They also need to learn to work with countries that are superior to us in terms of cyber defense long before we can begin to protect this nation from cyber attacks.

We need to give them permission to learn it and use it. They can’t learn it if they aren’t using it, and they are not using it because we prevent them from learning it.

It’s almost as if we truly do enjoy being reactive, we love to walk on the edge and expect someone to catch us when we fall.

We as a country need to come to grips with the reality that cyber crime is on the rise and will continue to rise. It will become more scary and dangerous and once the ability to hack falls into the hands of these extremist groups, it will forever change the playing field. 

Until our nation becomes better at cyber defense, security and intelligence, my money is on the other guys finding out about a planned attack long before we do.

Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop.com

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News.

 

 

 

Assassination in Dubai

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Sometimes a necessary evil

 

محمود المبحوح‎‎, Maḥmūd al-Mabḥūḥ found murdered in a Dubai hotel room.

Understanding why is easy, figuring out who? Well that’s the difficult part.

Murdered 1/19/2010, in Al Bustan Rotana airport hotel in Dubai. Upon staff opening the door of room 230 they found the body of a man on the bed.

According to the death certificate, the cause of death was “brain hemorrhage.”

Mabhouh was drugged, electrocuted and then suffocated. Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim of the Dubai Police Force said the suspects tracked Al-Mabhouh to Dubai from Damascus, Syria.

The suspects? Well in all they had between 26 – 30 suspects. 26 of those delightful individuals also managed to make it to Interpol’s most wanted list. The Dubai police found that 12 of the suspects used British passports, along with 6 Irish, 4 French, 1 German, and 3 Australian passports.

Interpol and the Dubai police believed that the suspects stole the identities of real people, mostly Israeli dual citizens.

The only arrest made has been that of Uri Brodsky who was apprehended in Poland and extradited to Germany for allegedly procuring a fraudulent German passport. It’s unknown if Uri Brodsky is his real name, what is clear is that during the investigation, authorities started to see a picture that just might implicate multiple nations of conspiring to kill Mabhuh.

Dozens of suspects were interviewed however…

Why?

It is believed that Mabḥuh was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers in 1989, was considered to be the chief weapons negotiator for Hamas, the Palestinian organization’s main contact to Tehran and responsible for the logistics behind rocket attacks on Israel coming from the Gaza Strip.

In other words, he wasn’t exactly the most well liked guy walking the face of the earth and he had a lot of enemies as a result.  

Dubai’s police chief had at one time said that he is at least “99% certain” that the assassination was the work of Israel’s Mossad and that is sure that all of the suspects are hiding in Israel. He later recanted that, or at the very least had second thoughts on the subject.

Hamas leaders also think that Israel is responsible but Hamas didn’t exactly have the best reputation as far as the EU and US go. Given the allies and enemies of both Hamas and Israel one can understand why many suspect that either multiple nations were involved with the actual assassination if not the planning and subsequent hiding in suspects that seemed to just disappear.

Earlier attempted assassination

According to GQ magazine, in 2009 this elite team of killers tried and failed to kill Maḥmūd al-Mabḥūh by poisoning him. It is not clear if they snuck into his hotel room and placed it in or on something that he touched or if it was placed directly into his food or drink, all that is known is that he became very ill for a time.

The story goes that in an article written by Ronen Bergman, an Israeli investigative journalist pretty much says outright that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency was behind the attack. The agency’s code name for al-Mabhouh was Plasma Screen.

It was well known at the time that Israeli spies had been monitoring Mabhouh’s e-mail and online activities via…a Trojan horse that had been planted on his computer. They knew he planned to go to Dubai from that.

They did not know exactly what hotel he’d be saying at, but in Dubai you can find someone relatively easily and it was even easier when surveillance teams were deployed to figure out which hotel Mabhouh would be staying at.

Mabhouh,  was reportedly in Dubai to arrange shipments of weapons to Hamas and the team just so happened to reprogram the electronic lock on his hotel room door while he was out for a four-hour meeting.

They reprogrammed it so that the hit men could enter the room with an unregistered electronic key while at the same time not disabling it for Mabhouh’s key.

Hotel records did show that about an hour before the hit, someone in fact was tampering with the lock.

According to Bergman, who disputes the police report, the assassins entered his room and waited for him to return, at which point he was injected with a poison that causes muscular paralysis, once the muscles needed for breathing cease it will cause death. They managed to leave the room with no sign of a struggle.

The hit team made a rather large number of miscalculations and mistakes however on their way out of the town. The most glaring of which is that they failed to recognize the fact that the Dubai police force has a success rate of about 100% in terms of closing cases, with 100% accuracy.

What can I say, they are pretty good.

Other mistakes include but are not limited to:

~Operatives used the bathroom facility at the same hotel then put on some pretty piss poor disguises.

~They were caught on surveillance tape entering and leaving the bathrooms.

~Other operatives hung out in Mabhouh’s hotel lobby for hours wearing tennis gear but showed no sign of interest in heading to the courts to actually play tennis.

~The Dubai police were actually able to piece together hours and hours of footage and piece together the movements of the team…over several months of movements throughout Dubai.

Bergman wrote: “The laughable attempts of the Mossad operatives to disguise their appearance made for good television coverage, but the more fundamental errors committed by the team had less to do with cloak-and-dagger disguises than with a kind of arrogance that seems to have pervaded the planning and execution of the mission.”

October 11, 2010 the National of Abu Dhabi published an interview with Dubai’s police chef, LT. Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim where he claimed that the a “western” country had arrested a top suspect in the killing around two months prior. He went on to say that the ambassador of that western country did not want to name the country or the suspect.

On 28 December 2010, secret cables leaked by Wikileaks showed that Dubai considered keeping the assassination secret, and asked the United States to help track down information on credit card numbers suspected of having been used by the assassins. The United States did not cooperate with the investigation.

Most countries will outwardly tell you that they do not sanction or condone such assassinations yet inwardly, they know that sometimes they are a necessary evil.

As for the assassination of Maḥmūd al-Mabḥūḥ, well it’s never quite officially been solved and it is unlikely that it ever will be with so many who have chosen to look the other way.

Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News