Showing posts with label CYBER SECURITY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CYBER SECURITY. Show all posts

Friday, April 28


Newrope Vallombrosa is a unique place in Tuscany. Its founder, Saint Giovanni Gualberto, a Benedictine monk, chose this secluded place in the mountains 40 km east of Florence to lead a hermit-like existence, right after the year 1000, and with a restricted group of monks started his own monastic order, the Vallombrosani.

John Milton among many other travellers – found inspiration in Vallombrosa while traveling across Italy in 1638, and a marble inscription reminds tourists that here Milton put into writing his Paradise Lost. Vallombrosa is not a place for crowds; rather a place where to seek meditation and inspiration.

To me Vallombrosa represents memories from my childhood. It could be called a piece of my personal heimat, if you wish. Back in the 60’s, when a car was still a far-flung luxury for many Italian families of the working class, we would take the sunday morning bus from the train station in Florence with some frugal lunch, and we were back in the city with the same bus in time for dinner. For me, as a child, that was the highlight of the week – or the month – as it was all that we could afford at the time as a holiday.

It was with these memories that I rode my motorcycle along the winding road through the national forest that is part of Vallombrosa. But when I shut off the engine it wasn’t the silence that I had expected as usual but an eerie cacophony that got my attention. A crowd of young Africans, all in their 20’s, were standing and sitting around the area of the monastery, all of them doing the same thing: shouting at their i-phones, evidently talking to their folks back home.

Welcome to the new Italy Banana Republic, where the replacement of the original population, once known as Italians, is in full swing. Only a few years ago this affirmation would have caused sarcastic disbelief, now is the reality in front of our eyes.

It happened overnight (literally), during the winter, when over 100 “migrants” from Africa fresh from their landing in Sicily, were unloaded in this oasis of peace and tranquility. 

Now, you would think the location was chosen because the benedictine monks were ready to open their doors as a sign of charity and compassion. Far from it.
In reality, and without any help from the monks, what was accomplished was business at its best: minimum effort for maximum profit.

Take a group of local entrepreneurs to take over an old, abandoned hotel near the monastery, one of those hotels that attracted travelers once upon a time. Restore it to make it (more or less) look again like a semi-decent hospice so that you can amass in it as many Africans as possible. 

Make as much as 25/35 euro a day per person, courtesy of the Italian taxpayers. Welcome to Italy’s fastest growing and most profitable business. The example of Vallombrosa is not an exception, rather the rule of what is happening in Italy, or what it could otherwise be called “profitable invisibility”.

Until now local governments – especially the ones where elections are approaching – have been very careful in “disposing of” the migrants in secluded, peripheral areas, so that the locals would not notice their presence in their daily lives. Now, at an estimated rate of arrivals/replacements of over 450.000 a year it is going to be a (very serious) problem to keep this “profitable invisibility”.

In fact, as migrants are not confined to their housing and are therefore free to move around, by whatever public transportation is available the hard-to-hide consequence is that a city like Florence resembles every day more and more an African suk, with a young African man outside every commercial establishment begging for money or trying to sell useless Chinese knick-knacks.

If you talk to them, they will all tell you the same thing: they did not know that it was going to be “this bad”. They “were told” back in Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and the list could continue, that “once here they had it made”. How? I asked, again, who told them these fairy-tales?

I couldn’t get a convincing answer, and I got the feeling I shouldn’t have asked that question. Considering that on average each migrant pays to get to Europe between €2.000 to €4.000, that sum for most is seen as a lifetime investment that should ensure a better future not just for them but for their families back in Africa.

If you invest all your savings plus a potential future debt to arrive in the land of prosperity you are not going to plan on leaving that place anytime soon. After all, even if you are found as an illegal alien on Italian soil, all you will receive is a foglio di via (expulsion warrant) in which Italian state authorities “summon” the illegal alien to leave Italian territory within – normally – a week or so. 

And after that the illegal alien is left free to go, so long, goodbye till next time when he’s caught again perhaps as a result of a crime, and then he will be given another foglio di via, just to refresh his memory that he’s an illegal alien. By then, he knows he is dealing with a italian banana republic.

The refugees receive a daily allowance of €2.50 as pocket money, but obviously they want more. They are not legally allowed to work – thanks to Italy’s mind-boggling bureaucratic system – but can participate as “unpaid volunteers” in social projects such as cleaning of parks, streets, and the like, but, given the fact that it is on a volunteer basis only, the “volunteers” are few and far between, and they certainly prefer to spend the day sitting around or begging for money so that at the end of the day they will have rounded up a few euros.

The only real possibility of work is “low paid” farm labor, and the average pay ranges between €2 to 4/hr, especially in the south. Young italians, even if unemployed, are not interested in hard and tedious farm labour, or washing dishes in a restaurant. So the “migrants” come handy and useful for many potential employers who have at their disposal a virtual endless supply of next to slave labour.

Inevitably, due to these massive arrivals, Italy is under an unprecedented financial strain. Inevitably, those who are bound to suffer the most from this shift in resources are the growing numbers of Italians – now approaching the 5 million mark – who are rapidly declining into the official category of povertà assoluta (absolute poverty) as classified by ISTAT (the National Bureau of Statistics and Census) who would be willing and forced to accept even as little as a few euros per hour just to get by, except that a potential employer doesn’t even consider hiring an Italian for he knows that a legal employee could easily report an unlawful working condition, therefore potentially exposing the employer to heavy fines.

The millions of Italians – especially olders with no families – who have ended up in this category have little or no help from the state, especially when it comes to housing and specific medical care such as dental care. If you are a single adult with no children, chances of getting subsidized housing are next to zero. And that has a quite simple explanation: all the available subsidized housing goes to families with children, and most of them are foreigners with an average of 2/3 children.

Finally, it is Mother Nature who knows no morals, at least not as humans conceive them, and Nature always wants its toll. Just like in the animal world the invasion of alien species in a new environment often causes a severe reduction – or extinction – of native species, in human societies the massive and sudden moving of people from one continent to the other causes – inevitably – infectious diseases to reappear where they were eradicated or increase dramatically, and of course unexpectedly.

Tuscany sets a perfect example. Traditionally friendly and hospitable, thanks to its post -communist local governments, Tuscany has been welcoming sub-Saharan Africans for at least a couple of decades by now, and Tuscany now stands apart in Italy for a dramatic rise in meningitis cases.

Once again, the local government of Tuscany carefully and skillfully plays down the numbers, avoiding – God forbid if Mass Tourism hears about this – the word “epidemic”, but the numbers are out there and are becoming hard to hide.
Of course, the consequential negative effects for local populations facing what is hard to disguise as “humanitarian crisis”, but in reality a planned forced replacement of Europeans, was taken into account when all this was carefully planned by the “movers and shakers behind the curtains”. Nothing could be left to chance.

In order to accomplish this MP (Master Plan), regardless of the name you want to call it, a fundamental ingredient is essential, namely, the complete readiness of a subservient oligarchy, holding key positions in the countries you want to subdue. This oligarchy must be composed of key figures ready to be disposed of whenever necessary or no longer usable. In other words, as perfectly stated by Gaetano Mosca, a political scientist of the late 19th century, “a well organized minority will always have its way over a disorganized majority.” And, shall we add, for an organized minority to reach its goals another essential is to get rid of all potentially powerful obstacles.

Silvio Berlusconi may have been ultimately unfit to lead Italy, but he had some points to his favour, one of them his personal friendship with Muammar Qaddafi. Thanks to that friendship, and as long as Qaddafi was in power, Libya had not become a major jumping point for Italy for sub-Saharan Africans. In 2011, in a matter of months, both leaders are out of the picture, one resigns and one is dead. Libya plunges into a civil war, and chaos in the country is the result, with no recognized central authority any more.

Two years later, in October 2013, one of the things that you would have certainly called “impossible” to happen in life actually does happen: the Pope resigns from his post. In his resignation statement delivered in Latin he calls himself physically overwhelmed thus unfit to lead the Catholic Church. So long, goodbye.

Of course, it is just one of those weird coincidences, but the Vatican State had been cut off for days prior to Pope Benedict’s resignation from all international banking transactions via SWIFT, just like other evil nations such as Iran and North Korea. Within hours of Benedict XVI’s departure from the Vatican, bound for the residence of Castel Gandolfo outside Rome, Vatican’s connections with SWIFT are reestablished and all banking transactions are possible again. Talk about providential timing.

A new and quite different Pope is elected by the cardinals, certainly, we like to believe, inspired by the Holy Ghost. A Pope that soon, like a broken record, will remind – on a daily basis – Catholics worldwide, but especially Italians that “migrants are not just welcome, they are absolutely welcome”. Now, for a devout Catholic, that must be accepted, and cannot be questioned, even if you have (many) doubts, deep down in your conscience: after all, a Pope is always right, and we, as Catholics, must obey.

Until 2013 the numbers of arrivals from Africa are high, but always below 50.000 a year. 2014 marks the first year of biblical numbers, with over 170.000 arrivals, mostly from sub-Saharan Africans. Since then, the numbers are rising and 2017 is due to pass the 200.000 mark. Never mind that Italy is – literally – running out of places to hold – and feed – these masses. The Pope for many Italians remains the ultimate voice of truth so if THEY come, we must welcome THEM.

History repeats itself. At least in Sicily. In January, 1943 the Casablanca conference in Morocco attended by Churchill and Roosevelt proved to be a turning point of the war. No longer on the defensive, with the Axis forces of Italy and Germany driven out of Africa, Churchill was anxious to attack Hitler’s “fortress Europe” through its “soft underbelly” as he called Italy. And so Operation Husky was decided. The allied forces landed in Sicily in July 1943, which led, in a matter of weeks, to the fall of Mussolini and the surrender of Italy in September, with the country effectively divided in two until the end of the war in April 1945.

As with any carefully prepared military invasion, reliable domestic contacts providing eyes and ears on the ground were essential. Rather than relying on virtually non-existent “resistance groups” like it was going to be the following year for the landing in Normandy, the US and Britain knew they were to take advantage of a different – yet formidable – power: the Mafia.

A number of US intelligence agencies had already been in contact during the war with the New York “underworld” essentially in order to protect the port of New York from highly possible acts of sabotage especially by the Germans.

As Operation Husky received the green light, all possible useful contacts in Sicily were recruited by US intelligence agencies, but the key figure was by no doubt top Mafia mobster Lucky Luciano. Serving a 30 to 50 year sentence in a NY correctional facility since 1936, Luciano provided the US Navy with many Sicilian contacts which proved to be extremely useful in aiding allied forces to establish a secure foothold in Sicily. The all-too-obvious consequence was that the Mafia, on the run since Mussolini’s arrival, was back in power, and it was there to stay.

It must be admitted that Sicily provides an outstanding presence in the Italian government. In January, 2015 the first Sicilian President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, is elected by the parliament. At that point Sicilians hold the top 3 positions in the Italian government: The President, the President of the Senate (Pietro Grasso, a former prosecutor), and the essential Minister of Interior Angelino Alfano. It needs to be reminded that while the former two are honorific figures and are no decision makers, the Ministry of the Interior is the direct supervisor and coordinator of the whole immigration affaire.

In her whole career, professional and political, she has made no mistery on whose side she stands for, and that side is certainly NOT the average italians who live from paycheck to paycheck (provided they have one) despite the fact that italian taxpayers reward her with over 100.000 euro a year for her position.

Being from an affluent family, she really never had to worry about making ends meet, devoting her whole life to the underpriviliged ones. Just as long as they are NOT italians. We could call her expertise on this whole matter just like the cherry on the cake, or, better stated, the right person in the right place at the right time.

Getting back to Sicily, and speaking of affari (italian for business) immigration -biblical or not- has been a fantastic, unprecedented affare for Sicily as untold billions of euros have kept a steady flow to the island. Sicily has Europe’s biggest migrant reception center, the C.A.R.A. (Centro Accoglienza Richiedenti Asilo), located in Mineo near Catania where many “irregularities” were found out by local prosecutors, leading to the indictment of at least 17 people including a high level politician of the same political party as Angelino Alfano, (NCD).

One of the wistleblowers of the many “irregularities” that were the norm at the C.A.R.A. in Mineo is a middle level police officer from Rome, Daniele Contucci. Contucci has worked for years “in prima linea”, as he states, being among the first ones to receive -and interview clandestine-migrants just unloaded on sicilian shores after having been rescued at sea.

When asked if there’s any hope this biblical invasion will slow down any time soon Contucci is highly skeptic. “Not as long as there’s so much money involved. The profits to be made are just staggering, by far surpassing any other illegal activity”, he says. He admits that -perhaps a bit naive- he thought he could find help and attention to his cause from politicians that rewarded him with lots of shoulder padding and praises but no concrete action of any sort, regardless of the political orientation, leaving him “highly convinced” that despite all the official claims and drama, no party in Italy is willing to do anything serious about this. “It’s the money. There’s simply too much money involved. It’s the kind of money that can buy any politician.”

Last, but by all means not least, the “traghettatori”, italian for ferrymen. Just like Operation Husky,this biblical task could not be accomplished without a fleet – or a flotilla – of well equipped, well payed, well maintained vessels.

Of course they are all humanitarian organizations, and they devote all their lives and their (huge) resources to the safe transporting of migrants to the all too willing and cooperating (or – shall we say – receiving orders from above?)
the Marina Militare, or the Italian Navy. 

One tiny detail: if you want to take “part of the action” as a volunteer, and become a crewmember on one of the NGO’s vessels, get ready for a good series of vaccination shots as a mandatory condition to be taken onboard. As the saying goes: “better be safe than sorry”.

Now the Italian Ministry of Public Health wants “everybody” to get vaccinated in Italy, and that -soon- is probably not going to be an option, especially for schoolchildren. Profitable businesses often go hand in hand. You start with immigration, and you end up with vaccination. It must be the Law of Attraction.

This monumental endeavour of changing Italy’s demographics has found its admirers. One gentleman in particular is willing to open his wallet and shower this gracious flotilla with the insignificant gift of € 1.500 billion.

We wonder what may be behind all this generosity. Perhaps, as the man wants to be remember by future generations of dark skinned italians, as he is getting a little aged and has little time left, he wants to push the final population replacement of Italy to the fullest.

Back in 1943 they were called GI’s. In 2017 they will be called GSB’s (George Soros Boys). Welcome boys, to your future home. The Banana Republic of Italy.

Saturday, February 11


Magia tipica italica: "puff... spariscono i fratelli Giulio e Francesca Maria Occhionero, superlaureati e oggi, paff.... arrivano gli hackers russi.". 

Gli italiani, lettori, ascoltatori, smartphonisti, videodipendenti, da ieri devono dimenticare le palle gonfie che ci hanno fatto i "giornalai italiani" sui due fratelli Occhionero, sostituendoli "voilà" con Putin e i suoi putinini hackeronisti. Minchia, che pazienza bovina ci avete popolo bùenista.

Solo i "giornalai italiani" riescono a montare tempeste tropicali, diluvi universali, glaciazioni e desertificazioni tra Bolzano e Ragusa. Solo loro riescono a far dimenticare alla Penisola italica, il giorno dopo, quanto sia stato il loro grado di vaneggiamento, ignoranza e/o,  "istruzioni" ricevute. Veniamo ai fatti.

È il 2 ottobre quando Giulio Occhionero, intercettato telematicamente dal 23 agosto 2016, comincia a sospettare di essere finito nel mirino. Da un solo giorno gli investigatori della Polizia postale hanno iniziato una intercettazione telematica attiva sul computer connesso alla linea fissa in casa, ma l’uomo è già in allerta: a un’intercettazione sembra che qualcuno lo abbia avvertito. 

Dopo aver effettuato una verifica sui certificati Microsoft invia una mail alla sorella Francesca Maria: “Ad ogni modo è valido pure sui server (Moscow) americani quindi dubito che abbiano dato ad un’autorità italiana il privilegio di infettare macchine americane“. Lei risponde subito dopo: “Bravo! Possiamo tranquillizzarci (un po’)

Il 10 gennaio scorso, la Polizia postale, ha arrestato i due fratelli per avere hackerato le e-mail di notabili politici come il presidente della Banca centrale europea, Mario Draghi, e l'ex presidente del Consiglio, Matteo Renzi, del ministro degli Esteri Gentiloni e ancora decine, centinaia di altre importanti utenze istituzionali.

Fosse per il cognome dei due fratelli (Occhionero) arrestati per cyberspionaggio, per il programma informatico, che hanno usato e che dà il nome all’inchiesta della Procura di Roma:" Eye Piramide".

Naturalmente è doveroso attendere gli sviluppi giudiziari dell’indagine del Centro Nazionale Anticrimine Informatico per la Protezione delle Infrastrutture Critiche. Il C.N.A.I.P.I.C. 

L'’impressione è di essere di fronte ad una spy story di primo livello. Dove due professionisti (lui ingegnere nucleare, lei cittadina USA che ha lavorato in Italia come consulente del governo americano) residenti a Londra e domiciliati a Roma, tra il 2011 ed il 2016 sono entrati nel cuore dello Stato e, più in generale, nel sistema di potere e nella politica italiana, istituzioni comprese. 

Incamerando – attraverso un elenco di quasi ventimila username – una massa enorme di dati e informazioni sensibili, civili e militari, archiviati e custoditi in alcuni server negli Stati Uniti con un metodo di catalogazione preciso e articolato.

Matteo Renzi e Mario Monti, dell’ex Governatore della Banca d’Italia e oggi Presidente della BCE, Mario Draghi, e dell’ex Comandante generale della Guardia di Finanza, Saverio Capolupo, per disegnare il profilo dell’attacco volto, scrivono i magistrati, al «procacciamento di notizie concernenti la sicurezza dello Stato con accesso abusivo al sistema informatico e intercettazione illecita di comunicazioni informatiche». 

E basta ricordare che anche l’ENAV, la società che controlla e garantisce il traffico aereo civile in Italia, dunque un’infrastruttura di assoluto interesse nazionale strategico, è stata oggetto dell’hackeraggio che nel marzo scorso ha fatto scattare l’allarme.

Possibile siano stati solo una coppia di professionisti (lui, massone molto interessato ai giochi di potere al vertice della Massoneria) svelti di mente e di mano e con buone relazioni sociali che con il loro “Eye Pyramid” hanno messo in piedi per fini di lucro personale uno spionaggio di questa portata? È possibile che un sistema diffuso di potere con al centro lo Stato e le sue funzioni più delicate, per cinque anni, non sia riuscito a sventare l’aggressione, alzando di fatto bandiera bianca di fronte agli Occhionero?

Ruslan Stoyanov, top manager della Kaspersky Lab, la più grande azienda russa che opera nel settore della cybersicurezza e degli antivirus, è stato arrestato a Mosca lo scorso dicembre anche se la notizia è trapelata solo ora

A renderlo noto è stata la stessa società, specificando però che le indagini sull'uomo sono relative a un periodo che precede la sua assunzione e che il «lavoro svolto dalla nostra squadra di ricercatori, il Computer Incidents Investigation Team, non è coinvolto da questi sviluppi».

Monday, January 16


Giulio and Francesca Occhionero was a high-ranking member of a Masonic Lodge, "which in Italy are shrouded in secrecy, and among those he monitored was the Grand Master of the country's biggest Lodge." (READ HERE)

Monday, February 15

The Hacked World Order

The Hacked World Order
The Internet today connects roughly 2.7 billion people around the world, and booming interest in the "Internet of things" could result in 75 billion devices connected to the web by 2020. The myth of cyberspace as a digital utopia has long been put to rest. 

Governments are increasingly developing smarter ways of asserting their national authority in cyberspace in an effort to control the flow, organization, and ownership of information. In The Hacked World Order, CFR Senior Fellow Adam Segal shows how governments use the web to wage war and spy on, coerce, and damage each other. 

Israel is intent on derailing the Iranian nuclear weapons program. India wants to prevent Pakistani terrorists from using their Blackberries to coordinate attacks. Brazil has plans to lay new fiber cables and develop satellite links so its Internet traffic no longer has to pass through Miami. China does not want to be dependent on the West for its technology needs. 

These new digital conflicts pose no physical threat -no one has ever died from a cyberattack- but they serve to both threaten and defend the integrity of complex systems like power grids, financial institutions, and security networks. 

Segal describes how cyberattacks can be launched by any country, individual, or private group with minimal resources in mere seconds, and why they have the potential to produce unintended and unimaginable problems for anyone with an Internet connection and an email account. 

State-backed hacking initiatives can shut down, sabotage trade strategies, steal intellectual property, sow economic chaos, and paralyze whole countries. Diplomats, who used to work behind closed doors of foreign ministries, must now respond with greater speed, as almost instantaneously they can reach, educate, or offend millions with just 140 characters. 

Beginning with the Stuxnet virus launched by the United States at an Iranian nuclear facility in 2010 and continuing through to the most recent Sony hacking scandal, The Hacked World Order exposes how the Internet has ushered in a new era of geopolitical maneuvering and reveals the tremendous and terrifying implications for our economic livelihood, security, and personal identity.

Monday, December 1


Definire gli Usa "Hyperpower" forse non è così illogico. I vari programmi civili, militari ma anche le iniziative commerciali miranti allo Spazio degli ultimi anni ne sono una dimostrazione. Questo paese ha investito risorse economiche nello Spazio come nessun altro, sia in termini assoluti che relativi alla propria capacità economica, ed è naturale che abbia tutto l'interesse a ottenere il migliore ritorno possibile a fronte di questi investimenti.

Facendo un po' di dietrologia gli Usa hanno guardato allo Spazio come ad uno strumento importante per l'affermazione del proprio potere e del proprio prestigio nel tempo. Il punto è che oggi lo Spazio è già militarizzato visto che lo strumento militare non è più immaginabile senza l'utilizzo di tecnologie spaziali, siano esse satelliti per comunicazioni, sistemi di navigazione, satelliti per intelligence o cose simili. Resta comunque una labile linea di confine tra la militarizzazione e la militarizzazione armata dello Spazio, linea che non è stata ancora oltrepassata. E visto e considerato che gli Stati Uniti diventano sempre più dipendenti dalle proprie risorse spaziali nella gestione della sicurezza, è anche sempre più presente la preoccupazione di come proteggere quelle risorse.

Le minacce sono rappresentate da Cina e Russia che potrebbero sviluppare capacità di offesa in grado almeno di sabotare satelliti americani con l'impiego di satelliti parassitari o microsatelliti sviluppati con l'impiego avanzato di nanotecnologie. 

Se gli Stati Uniti decidessero di dispiegare per primi armi extraterrestri potrebbero diventare i peggiori nemici di se stessi. Sarebbe invece più saggio se si attenessero a misure quali la deterrenza, la prevenzione e la riduzione della vulnerabilità dei satelliti, così da proteggere, anziché mettere a rischio, i loro sistemi spaziali. Ma ciò che ancora non si realizza nello spazio si vuole realizzare in cielo.

La Darpa (l'Agenzia per i progetti di ricerca avanzata per la difesa Usa) ha emesso una Rfi o richiesta di informazioni per contribuire a creare una portaerei nel cielo. Le Rfi della Darpa mirano ad accelerare e migliorare lo sviluppo di progetti all'avanguardia. L'idea è quella di trasformare un aereo da trasporto C-130 in una portaerei volante. 

I droni saranno lanciati e potranno atterrare su questi vettori volanti. "Vogliamo trovare il modo di rendere più efficaci i piccoli aeromobili, e un'idea interessante è quella di trasformare i grandi aerei che già esistono, con poche modifiche, in portaerei dei cieli" ha spiegato il dottor Dan Patt, della Darpa. Vettori volanti in grado di lanciare droni senza pilota, farebbero risparmiare soldi e tempo. 

La piattaforma aerea potrebbe schierare i droni per compiere molteplici missioni di intelligence, sorveglianza e ricognizione (Isr). Un vettore volante, infine, consentirebbe operazioni di attacco a lunga distanza. Una vera e propria scelta progettuale all'avanguardia per dominare il globo in una logica dominante da far prevalere su nazioni dominate.

Tuesday, November 25


A cyber snooping operation reminiscent of the Stuxnet worm and billed as the world’s most sophisticated computer malware is targeting Russian and Saudi Arabian telecoms companies. 

Cyber security company Symantec said the malware, called “Regin” is run by a western intelligence agency and in some respects is more advanced in engineering terms.

Than Stuxnet, which was developed by US and Israel government hackers in 2010 to target the Iranian nuclear programme.

The discovery of the latest hacking software comes as the head of Kaspersky Labs, the Russian company that helped uncover Stuxnet, told the Financial Times that criminals are now also hacking industrial control systems for financial gain. Organised criminals tapping into the networks that run industrial companies, alongside the development of the latest online snooping worm, are signs of the increasingly sophisticated nature of cyber attacks.

Nothing else comes close to this ... nothing else we look at compares,” said Orla Cox, director of security response at Symantec, who described Regin as one of the most “extraordinary” pieces of hacking software developed, and probably “months or years in the making”. However, a western security official said it was difficult to draw conclusions about the origins or purpose of Regin. “It’s dangerous to assume that because the malware has apparently been used in a given country, it did not originate there,” the person said. “Certain states and agencies may well use tools of this sort domestically.”

Symantec said it was not yet clear how Regin infected systems but it had been deployed against internet service providers and telecoms companies mainly in Russia and Saudi Arabia as well as Mexico, Ireland and Iran. The security software group said Regin could be customised to target different organisations and had hacked Microsoft email exchange servers and mobile phone conversations on major international networks. 

“We are probably looking at some sort of western agency,” Ms Cox said. “Sometimes there is virtually nothing left behind – no clues. Sometimes an infection can disappear completely almost as soon as you start looking at it, it’s gone. That shows you what you are.

Meanwhile, Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive of Kaspersky Labs, warned that the computer networks that control energy plants and factories are becoming targets for organised crime gangs armed with skilled hackers. He said there was evidence of “more and more very targeted attacks” of the networks that run industrial companies.

The attacks go beyond recent data breaches at US bank JPMorgan and US retailer Home Depot, in which criminals sought credit card details or personal data to attempt false transactions. Mr Kaspersky said criminals have used hacking for everything from bypassing security at ports to stealing grain from a Ukrainian factory by adjusting the digital scales to read a lower weight.

The most public incident of cyber industrial crime was exposed when Europol smashed a drugs ring last year that was hacking into the control systems of the Belgian port of Antwerp, to move containers holding drugs away from the prying eyes of customs inspectors.

Saturday, May 3


After the United States has announced a new package of sanctions against Moscow some US pundits have come up with warnings Russian hackers may try to take revenge on US banks and companies. 

Russian experts believe that in order to prevent cyber attacks, an international system should be established to identify the sources of cyber threats. Without that cyber terrorism can be blamed on whoever is close at hand.

Both US officials and security specialists warn that Russian hackers may respond to sanctions imposed on Russia by attacking the computer networks of US banks and other companies, Bloomberg said. 

The risks such sanctions may entail were emphasized by experts at the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) a Washington-based organization uniting more than 100 US corporations, including Citigroup and the Bank of America.

“A cyber attack is a serious concern that we all need to have,” Paul Smocer, the head of the group’s technology policy division said. 

The FRS believes Russian hackers are among the most resourceful in the world. There is the fear they have already made preparations for a large-scale cyber offensive, capable of paralyzing the US economy within a matter of days.

It is true that Russian hackers have a reputation of excellent professionals. Just recently Facebook published the results of a project in which programmers from around the world were asked to identify the potential weaknesses in the largest social network. 

In 2013 Russian hackers grabbed the highest awards. They identified 38 bugs. 

Facebook estimated each of them at $3,961 the highest prize for one exposed vulnerability. On the list of the ‘exploits’ that Russian hackers have to their credit is access to a data base containing personal information about 54 million Turkish citizens, including their addresses and names. 

This astonishing piece of news arrived last December. The attack was so successful because some Turkish political parties had loaded voter information without protecting their servers properly, even without anti-virus software. 

Hackers took advantage of this to gain access to literally all data in just two hours after the upload.

According to various sources, Russia has up to 20,000 cyber criminals. The market of computer crimes in the country has reached $1 billion a year. 

Russian cyber security specialists have warned against over-dramatizing the situation, though, but at the same time they believe it will be crucial to create a universally recognized system capable of tracking down the sources of cyber attacks.

“The issue of protecting financial structures is a high priority around the world,” the deputy director of the Information Security Problems Institute at the Moscow State University, told Alexei Salnikov. 

At the same time, in his opinion, there are enough specialists  in the United States  for effective protection against serious attacks. 

The analyst also pointed to what he described as political risks. Cyber attacks may be launched from other states, “for instance, by Ukrainian nationalists or the Americans themselves” only to eventually blame it on Russia. 

He recalled that was precisely the case in Estonia years ago during the row over the dismantling of a monument to Soviet soldiers. 

Then the hacker attacks were attributed to Russia, while in the end it turned out that they were mounted from the United States and from Estonia. A similar incident happened in Georgia.

The responsibility for attacks may be placed on whoever is at hand. The mechanism of consequences will be set in motion anyway, Salnikov said. 

This is precisely the reason why Russia has come out with the initiative of establishing an international system that would provide protection for critically important facilities.

“The timeframe for the implementation of such a system depends entirely on the political will of the leaders of participating countries”.

Thursday, August 8


Acting CIA Director Michael Morell

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell said the prospect of the Syrian government being replaced by al-Qaeda his biggest worry.

The second-in-command of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says that the toppling of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria is the largest threat to United States National Security and may help al-Qaeda acquire chemical weapons.

And with al-Qaeda close to the action, Morell warned that they could pounce on the opportunity to gain Assad’s equipment. 

Morell’s statement is especially surprising considering America’s official position on the Syrian civil war. US President Barack Obama and his officials have repeatedly called Assad a "dictator" who is responsible for more than 92,000 lives lost in a bloody conflict between government forces and rebels - some of whom are openly affiliated with al-Qaeda.  

Should the current regime collapse without a stable government to step up to the plate, Morell said the warheads being held by Assad may end up in the hands of America’s adversaries.

The US remains embarked on a plan that would aid Syrian rebels by way of supplying them with arms. With al-Qaeda extremists entwined in that same war against Assad, however, one wrong turn could cause the US to accidentally equip its most feared enemy.

According to Morell, the Syrian government's weapons "are going to be up for grabs and up for sale" if Assad is ousted. Unless the US has a plan of attack ready for that moment, munitions and warheads currently controlled by Assad could end up in the hands of just about anyone.

With al-Qaeda increasing the scope of its operation in Syria, the US could have a whole new front in its war on terror. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 brought American troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and later to Iraq. In the decade-plus since, the US has launched drones over locales like Yemen and Somalia to take a stab at diminishing al-Qaeda’s presence. As hostilities increase in Syria, a new adversary could worsen the current situation. 
Given what the US has reported about the current Syrian government, al-Qaeda stands to collect all sorts of goodies if they can grab hold of Assad’s goods as well. The White House has insisted that Assad deployed chemical weapons on citizens during the civil war, and the opposition and government have both relied on whatever weapons they can collect in order to fight off their foes. That hostile environment is increasingly being populated by al-Qaeda extremists, and Morell says that’s not good for US security.

Notes: "Al-Qaeda has had its own victory as well. The dispersal of al-Qaeda is their victory... I don't remember a time when there have been so many National Security issues on the front burner as there are today, Michael Morell said".

Friday, July 5


First Deputy PM and Defense Minister Aleksandar Vučić is paying a visit to the Russian Federation as "a special guest of Dmitry Rogozin." (Dmitry Rogozin - Russia's deputy prime minister - is "one of the closest associates of President Vladimir Putin.).

The two officials visited the arms and equipment expo IMDS-2013 in St. Petersburg and attended the presentation of fighter jets MiG-29 M2 and Sukhoi 27 (Su-27). 
The host paid a special attention to the demonstration of the flight and operative abilities of the aircraft for which Serbia is interested MiG-29 M2, according to the report, quoting a Serbian government statement. 
Vučić and Rogozin were guests at a Russian warship, "which is an example of cutting-edge military technology."  Vučić paid a two-day visit to Russia where he conferred with Rogozin on fostering of the military cooperation and procurement of military equipment, the Belgrade-based daily Večernje Novosti reported, adding that the two officials met on two occasions in Moscow and St. Petersburg,. 

The topic of the talks was procurement of aircrafts, radar and air defence systems for the Serbian Army (VS). Vučić conferred with high Russian official on Serbia's most favorable manner of payment for six MiG 29 M2 and two radars, the daily said. 

They also conferred on the second phase of the deal which should focus on modernization of rocket systems C300 and Pantsir. The Serbian deputy prime minister and Rogozin confirmed the readiness to sign an agreement on military technical cooperation between the two countries by the end of the year, and this agreement was in the focus during Vučić's recent meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu

Aside for the possibility of signing new agreements on further equipment of the Serbian Army, Vučić and Rogozin also conferred on joint appearance of the military industries in third markets.

Thursday, June 13


Doveva essere il “viaggio JFK” di Barack Obama, la replica contemporanea dell’“Ich bin ein Berliner”, in un discorso alla Porta di Brandeburgo, dopo quello alla Colonna della Vittoria di Berlino che nel luglio del 2008 fece innamorare l’Europa di un giovane candidato democratico pronto a porre fine alla guerra in Iraq e a chiudere Guantanamo. Invece, quando arriverà nella capitale tedesca la prossima settimana, Obama sarà guardato senza l’ardore di sempre, dopo le rivelazioni del Guardian e del Washington Post sui programmi di sorveglianza di massa condotti dalla National Security Agency (NSA). 
La cancelliera tedesca, Angela Merkel, intende sottoporre a Obama un questionario sulle dimensioni e le basi legali della raccolta di dati in Germania da parte degli americani, ha detto il suo portavoce alla Reuters. L’europarlamentare Markus Ferber ha detto che Washington sta usando “metodi della Stasi in stile americano”. Senza comunicare nulla, poi. “Tutto ciò che sappiamo, lo abbiamo scoperto dai media”, ha spiegato il ministro dell’Interno Hans-Peter Friedrich. Tutto ciò che hanno scoperto è per esempio che i più spiati d’Europa da parte degli americani sono proprio loro, i tedeschi (per motivi anche tecnici: usano molti server americani). 
L’indignazione retorica dell’Europa è ai massimi. La commissaria alla Giustizia, la lussemburghese Viviane Reding, ha scritto al ministro della Giustizia americano, Eric Holder, per lamentarsi delle “gravi ripercussioni per i diritti fondamentali dei cittadini dell’UE” del programma di sorveglianza PRISM. Secondo Reding“ il rispetto dei diritti fondamentali e lo stato di diritto sono le fondamenta della relazione tra Unione europea e America”. Gli europei ordinari se ne infischiano della loro privacy quando mettono la loro vita privata su Facebook, Twitter e Instagram. Il Grande Fratello americano, in fondo, protegge anche loro. Ma le leadership europee si sentono tradite da Obama e dalla sua sorveglianza soprattutto per una ragione: malgrado la passione per i diritti universali, non accettano che gli americani trattino gli europei come dei sauditi o pachistani qualsiasi.
“Noi diciamo sempre che gli americani sono i nostri migliori amici, ma il presidente Obama ha chiaramente parlato di noi europei come stranieri”, spiega l’europarlamentare olandese, Sophie In’t Veld. “E’ un’indicazione che Obama vede il nostro rapporto in modo molto diverso da noi”. In’t Veld, che da anni si batte contro i trasferimenti di dati verso gli Stati Uniti, ammette la grande ipocrisia dell’Europa: affianco al grande spione americano, ci sono tanti piccoli spioni europei che “fanno praticamente la stessa cosa” e collaborano con l’NSA.
Il Monde ha raccontato che la DGSE – i Servizi segreti francesi – “agendo al di là delle frontiere, esamina ogni giorno il flusso di traffico internet tra la Francia e l’estero al di fuori di ogni quadro legale”. Gli scantinati di Boulevard Mortier a Parigi ospitano “mezzi tecnici molto potenti” che la DGSE nasconde dietro al “segreto difesa”. Il ministro degli Esteri britannico, William Hague, ha pure ammesso che il Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) ha un programma analogo a quello dell’NSA. Peggio: “Condividiamo un sacco di informazioni con gli Stati Uniti”, ha spiegato Hague. “Ma se le informazioni arrivano nel Regno Unito dagli Stati Uniti, sono governate dalle nostre leggi”. 
Secondo lo Spiegel, i Servizi segreti tedeschi hanno condotto varie operazioni in tandem con l’NSA, in gran parte per raccogliere dati su ampia scala. In cambio, gli americani passano regolarmente informazioni alla BND (Servizi segreti) tedesca. L’Austria ha firmato un accordo con gli Stati Uniti che permette alle autorità americane di ottenere i dati confidenziali – dalle impronte digitali alle analisi del DNA – di tutti i cittadini austriaci. Il tedesco Georg Schmid, autore nel 2001 di un rapporto sul programma "Echelon" dell’NSA, ha detto alla Associated Press di “essere un po’ sorpreso di tutta questa irritazione verso gli americani, quando quasi tutti gli altri fanno lo stesso”. La grande differenza è che “gli americani lo fanno meglio”. 

Tuesday, May 7


For the first time, the Pentagon has officially accused the Chinese government and military of conducting computer-based attacks against the U.S., including efforts to steal information from Federal Agencies.

A new report from the Defense Department took a small step beyond its previous position. It has said before that cyberattacks originated in China and that Beijing may be using civilian experts in clandestine computer operations against U.S. companies. 

But over the past year some U.S. officials and private cybersecurity experts have stepped up accusations that the Chinese government appears to be directly involved in attacks.

In February, U.S.-based cybersecurity firm Mandiant issued a report alleging that a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai had for years conducted cyberattacks against more than 140 companies, most of them American

Saturday, July 28

Facebook over CISPA

Facebook is expected to make billions when the social networking site goes public, but one of the most influential men on the Web says he won’t be buying stock. The founder of Reddit has denounced Facebook over their support of CISPA.
In an interview with CNN this week, co-founder Alex Ohanian explains that he won’t be investing in the largest technology IPO in the history of the Internet. Although Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg expects to make billions off of the site’s initial public offering, Ohanian says that he won’t be emptying out his own pockets to pad those of the young Silicon Valley star.

The reason, says Ohanian, is he believes that Facebook’s stance on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — CISPA — is very unsettling.

“I understand the business value to what Facebook is doing,” Ohanian tells the network. “We’ve never seen a company like this before, ever. It knows things about our private lives that no one else does. And one of the big issues that a lot of us in the tech community have with Facebook of late has been their support of bills like CISPA that make it really easy for a business like Facebook to hand over very private data about us without any due process. So that’s why I’m gonna be holding off.”

Facebook advertises that they have 901 million monthly active users, which includes around half a billion people who use mobile phones to access the profiles of themselves and others. The site exists in more than 70 languages and users upload around 300 million photos each day to the company’s servers. To say that Facebook has their finger on a lot of data would be an understatement, but perhaps even more alarming is that the website says they have no problem with sharing any of that information with the government.

The social media sites insists that they mean well by siding with CISPA, but Ohanian and others aren’t convinced that that’s enough of a reason to sign-on as a supporter. “[W]e recognize that a number of privacy and civil liberties groups have raised concerns about the bill – in particular about provisions that enable private companies to voluntarily share cyber threat data with the government,” Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president of US public policy, explained in a blog post earlier this month. 

“The concern is that companies will share sensitive personal information with the government in the name of protecting cybersecurity. Facebook has no intention of doing this and it is unrelated to the things we liked about HR 3523 in the first place — the additional information it would provide us about specific cyber threats to our systems and users.”

No matter which way they paint it, however, Facebook has indeed gone on the record to support CISPA, essentially agreeing to supply Uncle Sam with the personal data and correspondence of any user in the name of cybersecurity. Opponents of the bill argue though that even if well intentioned, CISPA would install the federal government with privacy-invading powers that would be worse than anything that America can already legally do.

“CISPA is essentially an Internet monitoring bill that permits both the federal government and private companies to view your private online communications with no judicial oversight, provided, of course, that they do so in the name of cyber security,” Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) explained in an audio address made last month, adding that the legislation “represents an alarming form of corporatism as it further intertwines governments with companies like Google and Facebook.”

Delivering a speech in Amsterdam last month, Ohanian voiced his opposition to CISPA without addressing Facebook’s support. “We value privacy and a right to free speech in the real world, this is fundamental to our democracy. For some reason the rules change online, when it’s digital, but free speech and privacy should be respected online as well,” he said.

Speaking to Venture Beat earlier this month, Reddit General Manager Erik Martin added that although his company usually avoids taking political sides, the realities of what could happen if CISPA passes is something that could shape the future of not just Reddit, but how the Internet operates entirely.

“We’re not interested in activism, but there are times when we can help make sure the community’s voice is heard. And Reddit is built upon having a free and open internet … we’re open source, don’t require user info, user curated etc. So, anything that might threaten a free and open internet impacts both the community and the company,” said Martin.

On Friday, Congressman Ron Paul reiterated his opposition to CISPA while speaking at the University of California in San Diego. “Without the First Amendment it is very difficult for us to get our message out,” said Paul, “but I want to make sure that the first amendment is protected on the Internet as well.”

National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander

The Pentagon official at the top of the US Defense Department’s cyber program says that an attack on the United States’ computer systems is not just on the way but that America is now more vulnerable than ever.

National Security Agency Director Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who also heads the Pentagon’s Cyber Command unit, tells reporters this week that the US is coming close to being hit with a computer attack that could devastate the country. Speaking before a crowd this week, Alexander warns, "The conflict is growing [and] the probability for crisis is mounting.”
"While we have the time, we should think about and enact those things that we need to ensure our security in this area. Do it now, before a crisis,” insists Alexander.

“What I’m concerned about is the transition from disruptive to destructive attacks,” he adds. “And I think that’s coming. We have to be ready for that.”

The US Congress is currently tasking itself with finding a way to fight cyberterrorism, but the inability to fully find a way to balance security with civil liberties has raised objections across the country. Alexander dismissed these concerns during this week’s address, however, insisting that the NSA does not "hold data on American citizens” and equated the US government’s association with major Internet entities as one that is relatively hands-off.

"Like the police force, like the fire department, they don't see around buildings waiting for a fire to come on, you call them when it happens. In cyberspace, I see very much the same thing in our partnership with industry,” he alleges.  “We can protect civil liberties and privacy, and cybersecurity,” says Alexander, who insists his agency is “not talking about giving our personal e-mails to the government.”

Meanwhile, only last month the NSA sent a letter to two leading congressmen refusing to reveal the number of Americans that they have spied on through provisions made in 2008 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a legislation that allows the government to go through correspondence that they believe is being sent overseas. In explaining themselves to the two lawmakers that asked for an answer, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO), the NSA said that that informing Americans about any spying they may have been subjected to would be damaging to personal privacy.

RT has also reported that, under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, the government is given practically an open invitation to access private information such as that contained in emails tens of thousands of times a year.

Elsewhere, recent reports have alleged that the United States has all the while been behind massive computer attacks waged not at its own citizens through spy programs but instead at Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. By way of both Stuxnet and Flame, a worm and malware, respectively, Obama administrations officials speaking with the New York Times have confirmed that the technology behind the cybercrimes was engineered on behalf of the American government and authorized by US President Barack Obama.

Speaking of attacks aimed at America, however, Alexander explains this week, "I do think that's coming our way. You can see this statistically; the number of attacks is growing."

Saturday, June 23

US and Israel behind Flame virus

The United States and Israel jointly developed the Flame virus, which collected intelligence for a cyber-attack on Iran’s nuclear program. This has been confirmed by a number of Western officials familiar with classified data on the effort.

­The CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Israeli military were all involved in developing malware to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, the officials confirmed.

“This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,” noted one official, as quoted by The Washington Post. “Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.”

Experts say Flame was designed to replicate even on highly secure networks. It allowed its creators to monitor the infected computer, activate microphones and cameras, take screenshots, log keyboard strokes, extract geolocational data from images and send and receive commands via Bluetooth wireless technology.

The virus came to light last month, when Iran detected cyber-attacks on its Oil Ministry and oil export facilities.

“The virus penetrated some fields — one of them was the oil sector,” Gholam Reza Jalali, an Iranian military official told the country’s state radio at that time. “Fortunately, we detected and controlled this single incident.”

Some US officials were unsatisfied with the attack. They say it was the result of a unilateral decision by Israel, which failed to consult its American partners on the move.

Russian cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab, which branded the virus “Flame,” later discovered that parts of malware’s code were identical to that of Stuxnet, a virus the development of which the US government had previously been suspected by other officials tied with the cyber-sabotage program.

Kaspersky Lab concluded that the same group was responsible for the creation of both viruses.

“We are now 100 per cent sure that the Stuxnet and Flame groups worked together,” said Roel Schowenberg, a senior researcher for the company.

Earlier, officials said President Barack Obama okayed the continuation of the cyber-warfare program, dubbed “Operation Olympic Games.” That program was initiated under the Bush administration and also included Israel, The New York Times reported. The revelation pointed to the fact that the United States was directly responsible for the development of Stuxnet, a virus that targets software and equipment produced by Siemens. Iran uses covertly obtained Siemens technologies for its nuclear enrichment facilities.

Stuxnet, a name that was coined by antivirus researchers, was discovered two years ago after it caused almost 1,000 centrifuges to spin out of control at Iran’s Natanz uranium-enrichment plant. The damage occurred gradually, and many Iranian experts originally believed it came as a result of incompetence.

Both the CIA and the NSA are involved in the development of malware, senior officials say. The CIA’s Information Operations Center, the agency’s second largest center, specializes in infiltrations of computers that involve spies or unwitting contractors. Some of these penetrations involve virus infection and contagion.

The NSA is more advanced in its cyber-warfare tactics, and has expertise in developing malware and spyware to hamper Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.