Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Huawei Contemplates Suicide

Last week (see story here), Huawei spokesman Scott Sykes said that proof that they were a spy conduit would be "corporate suicide." Interesting analogy. If my presentation for Black Hat 2014 is accepted, you could well be paying for your own hit man. $1,000,000. I guess if you pay your own hit man, that qualifies as suicide, doesn't it? In my best imitation of Godfatherspeak: "Yo Vinnie, deese guys should ought'ta prepare for a dirt nap."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

White House "Thinking" Makes The Best Case for Privatization of Cyber Security

Yesterday's New York Times story (read it here) on White House "thinking" regarding cyber security is absolute proof that privatization is the only workable solution. The net-net seems to be that we can't count on the people protecting our infrastructure to let us know of vulnerabilities and back doors, because those flaws would then be fixed and unavailable to our own spooks:
But  [Michael Daniel, the White House cybersecurity coordinator] spent the rest of his blog entry describing what conditions might lead to a decision not to publish the details of a flaw — perhaps for a short time, perhaps for much longer. “Disclosing a vulnerability can mean that we forego an opportunity to collect crucial intelligence that could thwart a terrorist attack, stop the theft of our nation’s intellectual property, or even discover more dangerous vulnerabilities that are being used by hackers or other adversaries to exploit our networks,” Mr. Daniel wrote, describing the review that has taken place at the White House in the past few months.
Makes you feel warm all over. Doesn't it?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Modest Proposal for Going on the Offensive With Internet Scammers

After dealing with some particularly innovative Internet crooks over the last two weeks, I gave the local ABC affiliate an exclusive on this story:

This was basically a scam where I was getting both email and text messages from the scammers. I called the local FBI office to see if they wanted to sting these guys, and they declined. The FBI is far too busy to investigate these things. They suggested I send a report to IC3.GOV, which I did. I then called INTERPOL and got an even less enthusiastic answer. Even the local police were uninterested, although they did give me a case number for my police report (2014002363). One thing is certain: If the email and texts had been about a plot to assassinate the President of the United States, you can be sure the Secret Service would have perp-walked the shackled miscreants out of their homes within 24 hours!

What was NOT covered in the story was my suggestion that viewers text messages to the scammers (hopefully from "burner" phones) with a message like, "The Revolutionary Council has approved your beautiful plan to assassinate POTUS. Destroy your cell phone and go radio silent. God be with you." But interestingly enough, even though they didn't have time to air this part of my plan, the clever reporter did manage to include the scammer's US-based burner cell phone in the story (I added both the UK and US numbers to the video above). Since I have proposals to speak at several upcoming 2014 events, I even fantasized about buying a bunch of burner cell phones with prepaid text minutes and giving them to audience members. My invitation to the burner recipients would have been to send a "We approve your plan to kill the president…" message to the first scammer dumb enough to text them, and then toss the free phone into the bushes outside the house of a white supremacist. Of course, I plagiarized from my novel Daddy's Little Felons, so you might say I had this in my planned bag of tricks all along. Excerpting from my novel:
I launched a pre-emptive peer-to-peer command that sent an email in perfect Arabic to his entire address book using quotes from Surahs number 4 and 7 in the Koran as proof that Mohammed was a Satan worshiper and romantically inclined toward swine…My software then erased any trace of itself on his system, after first verifying that the mail had been sent, spectacularly destroying his operating system, and finally displaying the image of a pig on his screen. 
This trick really upped my game, even exceeding the nasty I unleashed on an Internet scammer who was using a burner cell phone to swindle an elderly friend of mine. Rather than go to the trouble of tracking down the scammer, I just sent him a text message from my own untraceable burner. It read: “The Revolutionary Council has approved your excellent plan to kill POTUS. Radio silence from now on. God be with you.” Within twenty-four hours—thanks to the NSA snooping apparatus—the Secret Service descended on the poor devil who, as it turned out, lived just two doors down from my dear friend. Our last vision of him was his being perp-walked in shackles to a SWAT van, followed by agents hauling his computers and file cabinets. Naturally, I immediately disposed of my burner. Chances are, my Internet scammer had a much easier time explaining the text message about assassinating the president (POTUS) to the Secret Service than my Saudi hacker would have justifying his rash email.

But no, above isn't my "modest proposal."

My Modest Proposal

I understand that the FBI and Homeland Security can't possibly investigate all the scams and frauds being perpetrated by international crooks. But why not randomly identify an in-process fraud scheme and marshal the resources (FBI, NSA, Homeland Security, and INTERPOL) to publicly take down the culprits. You're got to believe that this would put a check in the swing of bad guys worldwide.

Can't we FOR ONCE go on the offensive and quit our defense-only mentality dictated by US Cyberlaw? This notion is humbly submitted by a mere pawn in the international game of cybercrookery.

Oh, and by the way. If you want to have some fun with the cyber scammer, here are their (probably burner) cell phone numbers:

UK cell phone:  011-44-7417-403532
US-based cell phone: 646-751-0521


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The SEC's Going To Have To Outlaw Twitter

This afternoon's Wall Street Journal story (read it here—"SEC Has 'A Number' of Investigations Into High-Frequency Trading") is absolute proof that government is woefully unequipped to regulate our technological society, and that new non-governmental mechanisms are required. Do high-frequency trading firms have an unfair advantage. The morons at the SEC are years too late! Back in 2007, I created this ad for EDGAROnline, pointing out that hedge funds paid 50-times more for data from EDGAROnline that regular customers, just so they could get it faster. Well duh! Did they have an unfair advantage. Yes. Were they trying to keep it a secret. Nope!

This message was brought to you by
Morgan Rapier's common-sense doctrine.

And even if the SEC somehow figures out a way to rein in information supply, there ain't no way they're going to put the analytics cork back in the bottle. At least one hedge fund (that I know of) is using analytics on Twitter posts and they're beating the market by a long shot.

A Modest Suggestion for Google's Gmail Team: SCAM TRIPWIRE

I'm getting more and more scam email from Gmail subscribers. Inasmuch as Google seems to take security much more seriously than do Hotmail or Yahoo, it seems you could do the following:
  1. Identify about 1000 trusted and VERIFIED Google/Gmail/Plus subscribers and set them up with a dashboard to report/catalogue spam/phishing/etc. operations that use Gmail return addresses.
  1. When at least two of your "1000 Warriors" report the same spammer/scammer, immediately disable that account.
Just this week, I've gotten scam/spam from the following Gmail addresses:
  • John Keen – 
  • Adam Kevin – 
  • Jane Clarke –
  • Elias Montoya —
Interestingly, I found the first three reported by various other Google users when I…er…Googled them (I was trying to sell my baby grand piano, and the first three are piano scamming specialists). So, since Google is the fountain of all knowledge on the planet (no, I'm not being sarcastic), why not be a leader in helping enforce a healthy "reputation-based" economy?

And my gift to you: is available!