Hackers breach some White House computers

Hackers thought to be working for the Russian government breached the unclassified White House computer networks in recent weeks, sources said, resulting in temporary disruptions to some services while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the intrusion.

White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said that the intruders did not damage any of the systems and that, to date, there is no evidence the classified network was hacked. Continue reading

Chinese Woman Arrested for Downloading Files on Vulnerabilities in US Dams

It’s not hard to imagine, after obtaining information such as this, seeing key dams failing. How would this happen? Not necessarily with terrorist bombings, but with cyberwarfare. If you wanted to physically take them down via power grids, as a professional hit team had done in California, you need only to take out nine substations to indefinitely cripple America and potentially kill hundreds of millions from the aftereffect. It’s already on the edge of failure now as we speak. On the cyberwarfare front, you only need to take advantage of the SCADA system (See also HERE and HERE) that remains largely unprotected and vulnerable as well.

America is in the final phase of a perfect storm overseeing its collapse (on the economic and social front as well) that could happen at any given time as it is now past the point of no return in protecting itself. It can’t even screen itself from espionage in its vital infrastructure, as seen in this article. Having said that, it’s not hard to see that America’s adversaries have first strike capability, and therefore likely checkmate.

But hey, no time for that, we have a MLB World Series to watch and cheap (sometimes toxic) Chinese goods to scuffle over on Black Friday.

 

A sensitive database that lists vulnerabilities in every major U.S. dam was breached last year in an attack traced back to the Chinese regime. The security breach had U.S. officials worried that China could be planning to attack America’s power grid.

Now, one year later, a Chinese woman was arrested for breaching that same network. Xiafen “Sherry” Chen, 59, was arrested on Oct. 20 for allegedly downloading the sensitive files on U.S. dams and for lying to federal investigators.

The registry Chen allegedly accessed and downloaded ranks the dams by the number of Americans who would die if they failed, according to Nextgov. It also lists vulnerabilities that could be exploited in the dams, which could be used by a hostile nation to attack the United States. Continue reading

Researchers identify sophisticated Chinese cyberespionage group

A coalition of security researchers has identified a Chinese cyberespionage group that appears to be the most sophisticated of any publicly known Chinese hacker unit and targets not only U.S. and Western government agencies but also dissidents inside and outside China.

In a report to be issued Tuesday, the researchers said Axiom is going after intelligence benefiting Chinese domestic and international policies — an across-the-waterfront approach that combines commercial cyberespionage, foreign intelligence and counterintelligence with the monitoring of dissidents.

Axiom’s work, the FBI said in an industry alert this month, is more sophisticated than that of Unit 61398, a People’s Liberation Army hacker unit that was highlighted in a report last year. Five of the unit’s members were indicted this year by a U.S. grand jury. The researchers concur with the FBI’s conclusion, noting that, unlike Unit 61398, Axiom is focused on spying on dissidents as well as on industrial espionage and theft of intellectual property.

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Sweden intensifies search for suspected submarine near Stockholm

More than 200 men, Swedish stealth ships, minesweepers and helicopters have been searching an area of the Baltic Sea about 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the Swedish capital since Friday evening, following a tip-off from what the military called a “credible source”.

“I have decided to increase the number of units in the area — units with specialised sensors,” Commander Jonas Wikstroem told reporters at a press conference in Stockholm.

“We still judge that the information we received yesterday was very trustworthy,” he added, but declined to comment on what the military had discovered after more than 24 hours sweeping the sea around islands in Stockholm’s archipelago.

Swedish defence analysts cited by local media speculated that a foreign submarine may have been in the area to replace old spy equipment or to monitor a Swedish naval exercise. Continue reading

FBI warns US businesses of cyber attacks, blames Beijing

Boston: The US Federal Bureau of Investigation warned US businesses on Wednesday that hackers it believes to be backed by the Chinese government have recently launched attacks on US companies. Continue reading

Under Tutelage

Ukraine, now destabilized, infiltrated and redirected via new leadership planted by Washington and Berlin (via its domination of the EU/Troika), will soon have boots on the ground from the Fourth Reich. History is repeating itself and Eastern Europe has always been a source of contention between Germany and Russia as it militarily puts either one on its neighbor’s doorstep. This could also lead Russia to strike first, and as previously mentioned, go as far as Poland before Germany can get a military foothold and put Ukraine under the NATO umbrella protectorate.

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – The German government is preparing the Bundeswehr’s deployment in Ukraine. According to reports, in support of the OSCE mission to monitor the ceasefire between the Kiev government troops and the insurgents, up to 200 German soldiers will be deployed in the East of the country. The decision on the deployment is expected to be made in the next few days. Following armament and training operations in Iraq and the airlift to West Africa, this would be the third intervention to have been decided in a short period time. It shows that the German government is increasingly willing to supplement its foreign policy activities with military engagement. With the planned Bundeswehr deployment in Ukraine, Germany wants to reinforce its direct control over military activities inside that country. It would be the first combat mission of German troops since WW II on territory of the former Soviet Union, placing German soldiers close to the Russian border. This goes hand in hand with considerations to actually place the state administration under German-European tutelage.

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Waldorf to Be Biggest Chinese Property Purchase in U.S.

New York City’s Waldorf Astoria hotel is set to become the biggest prize yet for buyers from China who have been pouring money into U.S. real estate as they seek stable investments outside their country.

Beijing’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. agreed to pay $1.95 billion for the 1,232-room tower on Park Avenue, an Art Deco landmark and one of Manhattan’s signature properties. That would be the highest price for a single existing hotel in the country, and the most paid for a standing U.S. building by a Chinese buyer, said Kevin Mallory, global head of the hotels unit of commercial real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc. (CBG)

“We’re seeing a diversification strategy being employed by insurance companies and others, and it’s also true when it comes to private Chinese investors,” he said in a telephone interview. “We’ve seen a lot of wealth generated there over the last decade, and we see see private investors diversifying their portfolio around the globe.” Continue reading

Hackers’ Attack Cracked 10 Financial Firms in Major Assault

The huge cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase that touched more than 83 million households and businesses was one of the most serious computer intrusions into an American corporation. But it could have been much worse.

Questions over who the hackers are and the approach of their attack concern government and industry officials. Also troubling is that about nine other financial institutions — a number that has not been previously reported — were also infiltrated by the same group of overseas hackers, according to people briefed on the matter. The hackers are thought to be operating from Russia and appear to have at least loose connections with officials of the Russian government, the people briefed on the matter said.

It is unclear whether the other intrusions, at banks and brokerage firms, were as deep as the one that JPMorgan disclosed on Thursday. The identities of the other institutions could not be immediately learned.

The breadth of the attacks — and the lack of clarity about whether it was an effort to steal from accounts or to demonstrate that the hackers could penetrate even the best-protected American financial institutions — has left Washington intelligence officials and policy makers far more concerned than they have let on publicly. Some American officials speculate that the breach was intended to send a message to Wall Street and the United States about the vulnerability of the digital network of one of the world’s most important banking institutions.

“It could be in retaliation for the sanctions” placed on Russia, one senior official briefed on the intelligence said. “But it could be mixed motives — to steal if they can, or to sell whatever information they could glean.” Continue reading

JPMorgan data ‘sent to Russia’ by computers for hire

JPMorgan’s own investigators have found clues that a global network of computers available for hire by sophisticated criminals was used to reroute data stolen from the bank to a major Russian city, according to people familiar with the probe.

Like street magicians using sleight of hand, the hackers tapped computers from Latin America to Asia to send commands and obscure their identity while ferrying malicious traffic past one of the most heavily guarded networks on Wall Street.

Bank investigators working nearly around the clock have identified what they believe to be the assault’s staging ground, called a “bulletproof” hosting platform because of its resilience to other attackers and to law enforcement, according to one of the people, who requested anonymity because of the continuing investigation. The constellation of computers was used in previous hacking attacks and is now being tapped by professional cybercriminals operating out of Eastern Europe to target banks. Continue reading

Disarming the U.S. on the “Information Battlefield”

Paul Goble, a specialist on international broadcasting and the propaganda war being waged over Ukraine, writes that “…as effective as [Vladimir] Putin’s disinformation campaign has been inside Russia, it has been even more successful beyond that country’s borders.” One problem, he says, is that the Western media treat Putin’s lies as just another point of view.

Another problem is that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency that oversees all U.S. civilian international media, seems to be completely clueless as to how to win the information war and make sure truth triumphs over lies.

Concerning the role played by the Western media, Goble contends that “…many Western outlets report what Moscow ‘says,’ while describing any Ukrainian government statement as ‘claims.’ Invariably, doing so is called objectivity but in fact it is anything but. Instead, it gives an opening to governments like Putin’s, which are prepared to lie and to spread their lies widely, confident that what they say, however untrue or outrageous, will be reported.”

This is one reason why the idea that Ukraine shot down the Malaysian plane, thinking it was Putin’s jet, has gotten so much attention in the West. It gets picked up as just another point of view, even though it is a blatant lie and was designed as such. Russia has a propaganda channel, Russia Today (RT), which broadcasts this disinformation inside the U.S. on a regular basis.

Showing his own receptivity to Russian propaganda, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul went on a new conservative news channel, Newsmax TV, to suggest that the government of Ukraine had shot the plane down. The former Republican congressman has been a regular guest on RT, and has wandered far from the days when he claimed to be an anti-communist.

Goble says many in the West fall victim to Moscow’s lies, “either out of a confusion between balance and objectivity, a conviction that all governments lie and that no one should be surprised, or a commitment to maintaining good relations with the Russian government no matter what it does.” It is not clear what motivates Ron Paul, but his acceptance of the Kremlin point of view makes a mockery out of his proclaimed devotion to liberty around the world. Continue reading

FBI Examining Whether Russia Is Tied to JPMorgan Hacking

Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe.

The attack resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the probe is still preliminary. Authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.

In one case, the hackers used a software flaw known as a zero-day vulnerability in one of the banks’ websites. They then plowed through layers of elaborate security to steal the data, a feat security experts said appeared far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers. The incidents occurred at a low point in relations between Russia and the West. Russian troops continue to mass on the Ukrainian border and the West tightens sanctions aimed at crippling Russian companies, including some of the country’s most important banks. Continue reading

Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty

What US Constitution?

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path. Continue reading

Germany has spied on Turkey since 1976: Focus magazine

 

(Reuters) – Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey for nearly four decades, Focus magazine said on Saturday in a report which could raise tensions further between the NATO allies.

The details about the duration of possible surveillance and on the decision-making surrounding it go further than first reports earlier this week.

Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador in Ankara on Monday after media reports that Berlin had identified Ankara as a top target of surveillance in a government document from 2009 and had been spying on Turkey for years.

Focus magazine said the BND intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey since 1976 and that German government under the then Social Democrat chancellor Helmut Schmidt had expressly approved the step.

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Almost 8,000 Navy chiefs face ax; sailors could advance

Changing the language from ‘budget cuts’ to ‘performance checks’ is now how the US military is being purged of its senior personnel not in lockstep with the current presidency’s agenda and plan. America continues suicidally disarming while its adversaries, bent on taking the US out, are modernizing, advancing qualitatively and quantitatively with each day that passes by.

America is at the point where the Russians and Chinese are likely equal in military might and capability — or perhaps have even crossed that threshold.

 

WASHINGTON — Almost 8,000 senior enlisted personnel must go before a continuation board later this year to determine whether they can continue to serve or must retire.

The board — the first since early 2013 — will convene Oct. 27, according to a Navy document released Aug. 14.

At risk are between 7,500 and 8,000 retirement-eligible active and reserve E-7s, E-8s and E-9s with at least at least three years’ time in rate.

But there is a big upside to the process: Clearing out senior enlisted who have engaged in misconduct or whose performance has slipped noticeably makes way for hot running sailors to move up.

The board has no exceptions; even the most senior sailors — up to and including Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens — will have their records reviewed. Continue reading