Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sochi Terror Threat Data Exhaust

Everybody who is anybody is forecasting rough sledding at the Sochi Winter Games. Here's the Quantum Leap "furball" of connecting/relevant tweets over the past five days.
NET NET as I click through the various articles: Even if they manage to put a steel ring around the Olympics events themselves (and good luck with outdoor events such as the luge), it will be well nigh impossible to protect tourists in their outside accommodations. Question: What's to keep Afghan-sourced/US-supplied stinger missiles from being launched outside the security perimeter? 
At the very best, the terrorists have put some slick ice outside the doorways of travel agents trying to get tourists to visit Sochi. At the very worst, well:

  1. Russia may well nuke Mecca before we get around to it; and 
  2. The Israelis may have a partner in taking out the Iranian nuclear program.
It should be an interesting month. I probably wouldn't accept a free, all-expenses-paid trip to Sochi. Then again, I'm a relative agoraphobe whose trips outside the Pirate Cottage revolve around bicycle rides up and down my mountain.

Follow-up Note: 

I just received an email from an old Oracle advertising buddy commenting on the above post. It came from Bob Berger, who relates a 2006 mountain-climbing story. Interestingly, Bob is an athlete who actually climbed Mt. Everest and reached the summit in 2012. Bob has no guile, and it is obvious from his account that he comes across as friendly and non-jingoistic to people who would love an excuse to kill another filthy American pig. Here's Bob's email response:

I was there climbing Mt. Elbrus, not far from Sochi, during a G12 meeting in St. Petersburg. In the Caucasus, where we were going to be climbing, a convoy with a rebel leader somehow mysteriously blew up! The lead truck carrying all of the explosives, and the rebel leader, for an apparent terror attack, detonated. 

Of course, all of this happened before any of us really knew what a drone was...

There we were, a group of 20 Americans, tromping around Muslim central looking to climb in the heart of some very pissed off people. Needless to say, my head was on a swivel. At our base camp at 14,000 feet, there was a group of Iranian climbers. This, at a time when they said their nuclear program was for energy. One of the Iranians came up to our group and started taunting us with a video camera. 

“Amereeekans. Amereeekans. Say something to the pipple of Irrrraaaann.” 

Most of my team turned away except me.

“Hey, I got something for ya,” I said facing him. 

“Ok Amereeekan. I have you on video for all of Iraaaan. Go ahead.”

I walked up to him. Looked into the camera and said, “Go solar. We’ll all be better off.”

The guy put down his camera, shook my hand and said, “Thank you Amereeekan. You are right.”

It’s going to be a weird Olympics.
Thanks, Bob. Send me photos and I'll publish them!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Data Exhaust: Why Cyber Threats Cannot be Treated as WMDs by Governments

Why can't a bunch of generals sit around the White House Situation Room and hash out responses to cyber threats the same way they responded to nuclear arms tests, threats, and provocative actions? The best answer came with woes of major retailers like Target and Nieman Marcus:
A teenager using commonly available tools can decimate entire commercial ecosystems—customer confidence, stock value, revenue, etc.—months before the Joint Chiefs even know there's a game afoot.
Today's Computerworld pretty well builds the case (see the story here).  Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye), welcome to 2014. Or rather, Holden Caulfield, welcome to the world predicted by my friend the late science fiction author Frank Herbert, lo those many years ago (just enter "Frank Herbert" or "science fiction" in the search box to the left to read my many posts on the subject).

Also, consider not-so-modern game theory and realize that using a defense-only strategy is a recipe for failure. Which makes this Sunday's Superbowl so interesting as the nation's best defense plays the nation's best offense.

Licensed and bonded cyber privateers—living according to the Privateer Code—are the only workable solution I can come up with. Got a better one? Nobody has proposed it in the history of this blog.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sochi Olympics Data Exhaust: Cloudy with a Chance of Terrorists

Ever looking for a chance to put my Quantum Leap Analyst software through its paces, I wondered about the chance for an earthquake on or near the Sochi Olympics venue. So I went to the Advanced National Seismic System database (try it yourself, here) and pulled all the earthquake data between January 1st 2002 and January 17th 2014 where the magnitude was over 6.0 on the Richter scale. I then loaded it into Quantum Leap Analyst and hit "Predict." No data massaging. No normalizing. Just quake magnitude, longitude, latitude, date of event and depth of the quake epicenter. Then I produced the scatter plot below and superimposed a world map, after which I homed in on the closest high-probability quake site near Sochi. Here are my results:

Above, you can see the world-wide event map of quakes above 6.0. I pinpointed Sochi on the map (click on it to enlarge to your heart's content) and then identified (in white) a prediction area of quakes. A couple thousand miles from Sochi, there is a 62.5% chance of a quake in the 6.25-to-6.45 range. The chance goes to 100% down around Indonesia, but for the purposes of my exercise, I'm focusing only on the Olympics venue. NET NET: No "Acts of God" on the horizon.
Then I was sitting there, minding my own business on Sunday—listening to speakers at church and thinking about the "Act of God" scenario—when a Sochi Olympics candidate who had been training since he was 11 years old said he'd had a strong spiritual experience to forego his Sochi Olympic dream and go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints two months early. Instead of delaying his mission for two months, he cancelled his participation and has left this week…THIS WEEK…for the mission training center.

I'm sure I joined the several thousand other people who heard his talk in thinking to myself, "Holy smokes, there's going to be a terrorist attack!" This itself tells me that there IS NOT GOING TO BE A TERRORIST ATTACK, because I don't think God works this way. Maybe this athlete would have been badly injured in the Olympics. Or more likely, God is not a big fan of the Olympics and He had more important work for this individual to do in the mission field.

Is there a chance of a terrorist attack. Certainly the jihadists would have us all believe there is, given the videos and rhetoric coming out of that community. For that reason, there is always a chance of a terrorist rainfall. The above "Data Exhaust" has struck the nervousness chord in my neck of the woods. But if I were to make a prediction, it would be that the Islamic militants are simply playing a PR game to spin up all the athletes and their sponsoring countries. Yes, their threats should be taken seriously, as I am sure the security assets in place are doing.

Like I said, I don't think God works this way. Does He?


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Huawei Still Not Willing to PROVE It's Not A Spy for China

Thursday's Register story (read it here) confirms that Huawei's management team is firmly under the thumb of the Chinese Government. Otherwise, they'd have taken the simple expedient of offering $1 million to anyone who could demonstrate a back door to their product line, including video conferencing. I recommended this approach almost three years ago (see my post here). As my Daddy's Little Felons protagonist posted three months ago (read it here), "Who you gonna' believe, Huawei or your lying eyes?"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

NANO-IONIC RESONANCE: How to Remotely Take Over a Computer That's Not Connected to Anything

Over three years ago, I posted a rather prophetic piece, given todday's U.K. Register story (read it here) and yesterday's New York Times story (read the story here). On January 11, 2011 I wrote:
… an admittedly far-out use of nano-ionic resonance would be to actually plant The Perfect Virus in stationary devices that are not connected to the outside world and are located deep underground or behind formidable defensive barriers. 
My speculation is a major step ahead of the above Snowden revelations, in that it doesn't require inserting tech on or near target computers.

Now remember folks, that this blog is and always has been a vehicle for fleshing out material for my novels, current and future. And I've frequently contended that science fiction authors were a pretty good source for futuristic predictions (see the homage to my late friend Frank Herbert here). A general nod to military science fiction (see it here) acknowledges a broad spectrum of literary influences in my life. In fact, the single most important technological breakthrough in creating the Perfect Virus—Principle #7: Black Box Portability—was inspired by Piers Anthony's novel Macroscope.

So welcome to Daddy's Little Felons. And welcome to a most exciting 2014.

Friday, January 10, 2014

My #3 Cyber Privateer Fantasy League Team Member Predicted Today's Headline on December 13, 2013

Jeffrey L. Walker, #3 pick for my Cyber Privateer Fantasy League Team (click the link on the right for my team selections), predicted today's Washington Post Headline (see the story here) and the selection of Accenture to fix way back on December 13, 2013. Here's Jeff's email to me last year:

Lots of issues....this is my professional opinion

1.  Doing it right the first time...always the best choice....IBM or Accenture would have been my choice instead of the unknown, non-American group of contractors.

2.  IBM and Accenture could run a project this large and complex which has technical difficulties galore in the categories of how-to-handle-large-volumes (probably higher volume than any current web-site...even Google) and industry complexity (insurance is a tough, complex industry with lots of inside knowledge required to build insurance systems)...but IBM and Accenture have industry practices in insurance.

3.  Up front political pressure. Neither IBM nor Accenture could afford a failure...wouldn't matter as much to littler hodgepodge of contractors it appears they chose.

4.  3 1/2 years is a tight schedule for system of this complexity.

5.  Now the rub. If the system was architected incorrectly, then it may not be repairable. I wouldn't know without much more data.

6.  If architecture is passable, they can probably fix it and continue to make it better...but it may take years.

7.  Can they fix it this year? Can't say as I don't have the data. Sounds like they are taking the right approach from the Times article, but the "waiting room" concept is a sign that their are architecture problems beyond repair and requiring a redo. A "waiting room" is a way of buying time...just like a line a Disneyland is a way to dealing with too many customers for a ride that does not have the capacity to handle the customer flow. (Difference is that people who see the line go to another ride or don't ride at all.....that strategy isn't going to work with mandated deadlines for sign-ups.)

8.  Disaster control. Obama administration doesn't know how to do that well as evidenced by all the other problems they've dealt with.

9.  Insurance industry support. Big political problem that might be hard to deal with. Delaying everything one year by not allowing insurance companies to change plans takes a load off the system, but creates enormous exception situations that I doubt if they can handle.

Tough problem they created themselves by not hiring the best people with the best motivations to succeed.
Jeff, ya got it right. Accenture and IBM would NEVER let this project fail. IMHO, TenFold technology could have nailed this right out of the chute.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Larry Ellison Named Microsoft CEO

In an unrepeatable attempt to use Quantum Leap Innovations data exhaust on a data stream created by a hybrid Wolfram-Alpha and Massively Parallel Technologies trilloMIPS pay-by-the-bucket InfoFarm, the following snippet emerged from what appears to be an early 2015 New York Times story. This blog makes no claims as to it's authenticity, and provides the snippet for entertainment purposes only.
… in the most astounding story of 2014. "Who would have believed such a course of events," said an unnamed source in the Obama administration. "The anti-trust implications alone would have tanked even early consideration of this appointment."

"Why have there been no legal challenges to this unholy allance?" mused Shira Ovide, Wall Street Journal reporter who chronicled Micorsoft's difficulty in finding a CEO in her January 4, 2014 story (see it here). "Perhaps it's because all tech stock prices have shot through the roof."

"We're in completely new legal territory here," opined former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who resigned his post in late 2014 to work in Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. "Two companies the size of Oracle and Microsoft cannot collude in stifling competition, but nowhere did the framers of anti-trust laws anticipate the same CEO functioning in two different companies."

In the above-referenced WSJ article, Ovide said the big snag Microsoft had in attracting CEO candidates was a perceived problem of board conflict, since two of Microsoft's former CEOs sat on the board. Commenting on this, Larry Ellison said, "I will probably disregard any advice Mister Ballmer offers. On the other hand, Bill Gates has been trying to pick my brain for a long time, and I look forward to several high-bandwidth conversations with him, now that we're on the same team."

"So far, the only challenge to this appointment has come from China, of all places," said former President Bill Clinton. "But since they have no legal standing in U.S. Courts, it appears they must express their reservations in political forums. This is going to be a fun year…
The above data stream terminated for unknown reasons. Should a repeatable stream be reestablished, the API to that stream will be provided free of charge to major news outlets and to computer scientists worldwide.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My 2013 All-time Top-10 Cyber Privateering Articles

On this first day of January 2014, I'm intrigued at the readership frequency of my Cyber Privateering articles. Here they are, in order of popularity (with clickable links):

  1. "Stupid and Stupider" in Zombieland — My most entertaining post, ever.
  2. My 2010 top-ten cyber privateer blog topics — I guess the key words in this posting drew more flies than a dung wagon.
  3. Huawei walks into a Beltwar bar… — Ya gotta laugh at the world.
  4. Privateer analytics: high-reward/high-risk numbers — A big dose of reality.
  5. Japan, I have a solution for you and Sony — Somebody in Japan is seriously considering the world situation, especially with this article and with #8 on the list, below.
  6. FBI's "best & brightest" blow one for the gipper — Those zany GMEN are always good for a laugh.
  7. Today's Network Solutions DDOS attack proves my point — Current faith in Internet security is a bit of a joke. If the "best of the best" can't keep the lights on, what hope is there for anybody else?
  8. Terrorist hunting: Dear Sony Entertainment, Part II — See #5 above. Somebody in Japan is doing some thinking.
  9. Frank Herbert clearly foresaw our day — SciFi authors have been pretty prophetic.
  10. Stuxnet response from Iranian hacker? — Clearly a "false flag" Chinese misdirection 
And I suppose you'd like to see the geographic breakdown of my top readership? Here ya go:
  1. United States — No surprise here
  2. Ukraine — The cyber crime capital of the world?
  3. China — The most aggressive cyber power next to the NSA
  4. France — No slouches in cyber weaponization
  5. United Kingdom — Ditto
  6. Germany — Ditto
  7. Russia — Ditto
  8. India — Ditto
  9. Singapore — What?
  10. Canada — Beauty, eh?
So we go into 2014. Analytics gurus and quant shops, start your engines.