Weekly Axis Of Easy #63
This week’s quote: “An entirely new and unique and dense sort of ignorance will be manufactured by a combination of censorship of the Press and censorship by the Press.” – by ????
Last Week’s Quote was “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of an expanding bureaucracy” by Oscar Wilde. Everybody knew this one. Michael Knox was first.
- Amazon looks to have inside track for $10B DoD contract
- 16-year Aussie teen hacks into Apple mainframe
- Hackers hit ATMs for 13M dollar payday
- Saudi Arabia makes Bitcoin trading illegal in the kingdom
- Practical Web cache poisoning
- The conspiracy theorists behind the Qanon phenom
- Facebook has a scoring system for user reliability
This article looks at mechanics of Amazon’s bid under a recent government RFP, worth around $10 Billion to move all of the Department of Defence’s Data – classified or not, into the cloud. As Vanity Fair observes, it almost seems as if the deal is rigged in favour of being awarded to Amazon. Geez, you don’t think anything like that would actually happen in Washington, do you? The article wonders out loud if Jeff Bezos is actually more powerful in DC than Trump.
An diehard Apple fanboy in Australia admired the company so much he hacked into their mainframe and downloaded approximately 90GB of confidential files and user account data. He hopes to someday get a job there. What I found interesting about it was that “The AFP (Australian Federal Police) searched the teenager’s home last year and seized two computers. The serial numbers of the devices matched those of the devices that had accessed the internal systems, a prosecutor told the court.” How do remote systems gain visibility into your devices’ serial numbers, I guess if it was an Apple device accessing the Apple cloud, something in there phones home with it.
Two days after the FBI issued a bulletin warning about an impending “ATM cashout” attack (we reported on in the previous #AoE), the cyber hackers struck a bank in India, netting themselves a $13M payday. They hacked the Indian bank’s system and executed $2M in fraudulent transfers and an additional $11M in ATM withdrawals across 28 countries.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has banned the trading of Bitcoin. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), a standing committee formed from supreme decree, has issued a warning that trading of unauthorized cryptocurrencies in the country is verboten: “virtual currency including, for example but not limited to, the Bitcoins are illegal in the kingdom and no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices.” The penalties for doing so are as yet, unspecified (but Saudi Arabia isn’t exactly known for leniency.) Meanwhile, SAMA is working on its own custom cryptocurrency.
A Fairly technical article, scary in its implications, on how web caches, either CDN’s like Cloudflare or CMS with built-in cache, like Drupal; can be poisoned to deliver malware to end users who are unlucky enough to visit a compromised site. It’s long, it’s in depth, with the upshot that “placing a cache in front of a website can take it from completely secure to critically vulnerable”, so I guess we all have to be a little more careful before we go with a CDN.
If you’ve never heard of “Qanon”, just surf the #Qanon hashtag on Twitter for awhile and you’ll get a sense of it. It’s almost a movement unto itself now, people are convinced that some highly placed whistleblower aligned close to the US president is leaking, nay, prophesizing events in an epic battle with The Deep State. Personally, I’ve read some of the posts and I find them incomprehensible. They remind me of “Sollog”, a mid-90’s self-proclaimed mystic who had an uncanny ability to predict world shaking events almost immediately after they happened.
Anyhoo, I find the phenomenon of its spread across the internet quite fascinating. Not sure if this NBC story tracking the origins and evolution of it is accurate, but it makes for an interesting saga.
Taking a page out of China’s playbook, which has the “Sesame Credit” system, which scores citizens based on their obedience to the State (remember, that system becomes compulsory in 2020), WaPo reports that “Facebook has begun to assign its users a reputation score, predicting their trustworthiness on a scale from zero to 1”
The previously undisclosed system has been in development for a year. All of this sounding more and more like that “Rate Me” episode of Black Mirror.
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