The Snowden Effect

1238180_748174778529731_2091239407_n

The leaking of government and military material including the U.S. diplomatic cables by Bradley Manning deeply concerned me in 2010 as I assumed it can destabilize the relationships between the US and the rest of the world. It turned out everyone knew what Americans embassies and diplomats are and nobody really got upset. The US started using their embassies and consulates as spy outposts after 9/11. So far… so good. Obama and Clinton managed to keep the damage low.

The NSA material leak by Eward Snowden and the revelations that followed it are much more valuable than the Manning leaks and a true wake up call for ALL Internet users, engineers and the entire IT industry.

Let’s recap where privacy has been compromised so far:

  • US based Web Communication Services and Social Networks via PRISM (although most serious Internet companies check FISA requests and won’t give out information if not absolutely necessary)
  • Intercontinental traffic via NSA Upstream, GCHQ Tempora and most probably some Chinese program we don’t know the name of (there are indications for that)
  • Your PC Operating System like Windows (backdoors are known since 1999 and it can be infected by state-sponsored Trojans)
  • Your mobile Operating System may it be Android, iOS or BlackBerry OS (NSA thinks iPhone users with location services are zombies)
  • SSL certificates that are used on the web i.e. for online banking
  • Any hardware including routers going down to the PC BIOS and even CPU Microcode can be backdoored (Hauwei became famous for this)

The entire leak finally makes people understand that sending unencrypted Emails is like putting a letter in a plastic foil and sending it via post. Unencrypted Instant Messaging might be compared to writing your private messages on postcards. It makes governments around the world finally realize their information security has been compromised a long time ago and that they need to find new and safer methods of communicating. We now know that we live in an era of CYBER WAR after the COLD WAR ended.

Not only the US government betrayed the Internet but in large portions it has been them along with China, Russia, Israel, France and the UK. Read a great call to action to all engineers who helped creating the Internet to take it back:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/05/government-betrayed-internet-nsa-spying

The process has begun and there will be nothing that can stop it:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/12/ietf_floats_prismproof_plan_for_harder_internet/

Personally I started using OTR in Jabber and I support encrypted email projects like Mailpile:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mailpile-taking-e-mail-back

Eward Snowden destroyed his own life but for a very good cause. I’m confident we, the users and creators will take back the Internet. The absolutely crazy level of surveillance is an unjustified overreaction to the terror threat!

It couldn’t avoid the Boston Marathon bombing attacks although the older Tsarnaev brother even had a public YouTube channel with radical videos on it. It’s the proof this global surveillance system doesn’t work. It didn’t work before 9/11 and it doesn’t work today because the real bad guys don’t touch any device with internet access. This is why Americans had such a hard time finding Osama Bin Laden. In the end it was not torture nor any snooped email that lead to him. It was a clever woman in the CIA who connected the dots applying classic detective work.

Advertisements

WikiLeaks

The recent WikiLeaks incident will be in the history books of our children. Although US Secretary of Defense calls WikiLeaks insignificant it’s clear he lies and he does it without blinking (video: http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/wiki-fallout-quot-insignificant-quot-gates-23280280). Impressive but THIS is the biggest disaster in US diplomacy I know of and every politician who denies it lies. The first reaction of the Italian foreign minister was that it’s the 9/11 of diplomacy. Later the Italian defense department said it’s rater April fools day than 9/11 but I think the first is more appropriate. I live in Germany and this week I bought DER SPIEGEL that reported as one of the exclusive media partner extensively about the  US embassy cables in relation to German politics. It’s really scary how many spies the Americans have everywhere reporting not to the CIA or NSA but to regular US embassies! I knew that allies spy on each other but the dimensions are immense.

Nevertheless it is WRONG what WikiLeaks has done.

The first leak contained unfiltered information that have not even be reviewed by WikiLeaks before publishing. Insurgents from Afghanistan or Iraq had just to download it and analyze to plan much better attacks on US and allied troops in this region. Irresponsible!

The recent second leak is a disaster for the US diplomacy and the shock waves of it might even cause wars in future. The leak is so evil that apparently FSB (former KGB) analysts think that there might be someone behind it and Putin told Larry King at CNN about this theory in an interview (http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2010/11/30/lkl.putin.wikileaks.cnn.html). Indeed the only one who looked happy after the WikiLeaks release has been the prime minister of Israel as the US embassy cables have shown that Saudi Arabia asked the US to bomb Iran. Personally I don’t think there is someone behind the leak  in particular. Yes, some foreign secret services (of US-enemies) might support WikiLeaks but I think it was really Bradley Manning who leaked all the documents because he wanted everyone to “know the truth”.

The best analysis I have seen so far was is Y! News (originally a video by abc News: http://news.yahoo.com/video/tech-15749651/wikileaks-reverse-spying-23260436). It shows the hacker who reached out to the FBI after being contacted by a person who indicated the willingness of leaking secret documents from the US military (Bradley Manning who is facing now a sentence of 52 years in jail: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/30/wikileaks-cables-bradley-manning). It was most probably him who leaked all the documents. Not only the video known as the “collateral murderer” helicopter attack from Iraq. BTW: I remember watching the video and it only showed to me what kind of dirty war we are facing in this region where Muslim insurgents bring their children to the battlefield as human shields!!! Disgusting! The video indicated the US pilots have done something wrong. My conclusion was the contrary. They behaved just right.

I hope there won’t be any third leak as announced WikiLeaks. The organization is under heavy pressure and their website will probably vanish from the Internet in the long term (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-knocked-off-net-dns-everydns). Amazon removed it from their servers and Paypal deleted their account. DNS providers are deleting the domains from their servers. This will continue till there is nothing left of WikiLeaks website but it will be in the history books of our children for sure. Not sure in what context it will be but I hope not it won’t be something like a “prelude to World War III”. In my opinion it has the potential to be exactly that.

Edit: Like a year later I changed my opinion about the leaks a bit. The damage was limited, it helped to end the war in Iraq, influenced the Arab spring and I think history will show more benefits of it. Manning will be the Daniel Ellsberg of our time…

Russian spies


Modern Russian spies are active on social networks like Facebook or Linkedin. Anna Chapman, one of the accused Russian spies even uploaded videos on YouTube.

Facebook deleted Anna Chapman’s profile pretty fast but Linkedin left it till this weekend. I even sent Anna a “friend invite” on Linkedin with the words: I like James Bond movies. Please add me. 😀 Now also Linkedin deleted her profile. Probably on the request of MI5 or FBI/CIA.

From all the Russian spies who have been caught Anna is the most fascinating one. She could be straight from a James Bond movie! Her father was a KGB agent and she is as well (but for the successor organization SWR). How cute!

Presidential election in Poland


Although I live in Munich, Germany I voted yesterday in the first round of the presidential election in Poland (where I originally come from). It’s the first election ever for me. I voted because it’s the first election since the tragedy where Poland’s president Lech Kaczynski died. I feel it’s very important as it will set the political direction for the next few years.

I voted for Komorowski yesterday. I hope everyone else who voted for him in the first round will also vote in the second round! Jaroslaw Kaczynski is a trouble-maker who scares people in Poland with his CBA (central anti-corruption office) raids and doesn’t make friends either in western Europe nor Russia. Kaczynski lies about the health system and claims his opponent will sell Poland to foreign countries!

Election coverage on Poland’s #1 portal Onet: http://wybory.onet.pl/prezydenckie-2010/index.html

More info about Komorowski: http://www.bronislawkomorowski.pl/

Gadhafi declares jihad against Switzerland

Gadhafi declares jihad against Switzerland… what’s next? He fires Scuds? So ridiculous.

More Info: http://www.euronews.net/latest/2010/02/25/latesti201002252015-lobya/

http://www.euronews.net/2010/02/26/gaddafi-calls-for-holy-war-against-the-swiss/

Check this Gadhafi US speech parody – really cool

Israelis don’t like suspicious Macbooks

Most people say it’s OK to go to Israel for holidays (see all the historic places etc.) but I think they are not right… Israel is still a country where you have a very dense atmosphere and people get very nervous! Check this out… policeman shot dead a Macbook!

This happened to Lily Sussman, an American tourist: http://lilysussman.wordpress.com/

Epic win over telecoms by the European Union

Another epic win by the European Union after the one billion Euro fine on Intel (https://warczyk.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/go-home-intel/) and bashing the telecoms giants for far too high roaming prices and introducing a standard for mobile charging devices! Here is the next:

http://www.euronews.net/2009/11/24/eu-telecoms-reforms-enter-force-in-december/

“Broad new telecommunications rules for the European Union have finally been fully approved, carrying various customer benefits. When a customer chooses to change service providers, the company will be required to transfer the same mobile phone number to the company that has landed the customer, within one working day. And the automatic downloading of personalised information to a user’s computer when he visits a Web site will need the customer’s consent.

Viviane Reding, the EU’s information society Commissioner talked about further assurances as well: “When data are lost — personal data — the person should be informed immediately. Internet access could not be cut off without first going through a judge, and so on. So, we see that consumers’ rights are central to this new legislation.””

Just recently Microsoft messed up their T-Mobile service and lost the data of users so this topic is hot (more info: http://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2009-10/15177910-t-mobile-sidekick-us-users-face-personal-data-loss-020.htm)

I general I think it’s a great idea to stop the telecoms from doing what they want… they behaved too long like an international mafia! I’ve been a victim of the roaming prices BTW… Vodafone tried to tell me that I need to pay 2800 Euro for using my German 3G/GPRS service in Poland for one week. I took a lawyer and we finally settled without going to court but still I paid a lot for the lawyer and the settlement.

  • Calendar

    • December 2017
      M T W T F S S
      « Jun    
       123
      45678910
      11121314151617
      18192021222324
      25262728293031
  • Search