Tag: clinton

US Far Right guns for Musk

elon-musk-tesla-109Far-right trolls have switched their focus from smearing Hillary Clinton and is now gunning for tech wiz Elon Musk – fearing that he might try a political career.

Bloomberg claims that hard-right groups are lining up to back misleading websites and fake journalists who attack Musk’s business empire.

The focus of the attacks is partly true. His businesses were built, legally, with the help of billions in government contracts and incentives for renewable energy and space transport.

But the stories are going on to accuse Musk of fraud and wasting taxpayer dollars. Three conservative sites have run negative pieces about Musk—by a nonexistent writer named “Shepard Stewart”. These stories include “Elon Musk Continues to Blow Up Taxpayer Money With Falcon 9” and “Elon Musk: Faux Free Marketeer and National Disgrace”. Two later retracted the stories.

Sam Jaffe, managing director of Cairn Energy Research Advisors said that whoever is behind the attacks is aiming at Musk personally because they fear he could go into politics. The pattern is the same which were levelled at Hillary Clinton when it became clear she would be running.

There were allegations of fraud and negligence levied at Clinton during the presidential campaign which successfully cemented the public’s perception of her as shady.

“It’s the exact same thing as Musk. There’s a portion of the political spectrum that is scared to death of Musk as politician. They see him as a threat. They’re starting that process.”

One anti-Musk website, Stop Elon From Failing Again launched earlier this year with the mission of becoming a “one-stop database on stopping Elon Musk.” The site combines news aggregated from mainstream sources with pickups from conservative think tanks, plus some of its own posts.

The site is backed by the Citizens for the Republic political action committee, which is led by Laura Ingraham, a right-wing radio host currently under consideration for White House press secretary.

One of the site’s most recent pieces, produced by the conservative Heritage Foundation, compared Musk to “Enron and Bernie Madoff.”

Musk’s SpaceX, which competes with the Boeing- and Lockheed Martin-backed United Launch Alliance, was also targeted this year. The website “Who Is Elon Musk?” produced a stream of stories critical of SpaceX and Musk, just as the former was being considered for government contracts.

Snowden squashes Trump’s conspiracy theory

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is pictured during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong KongEdward Snowden has squashed a Trump conspiracy theory which claimed the “dark forces that be” had stepped in to save Hillary Clinton from arrest in the latest email scandal.

Orange comedy candidate Donald Trump claimed that the FBI clearing Hillary Clinton in a last-minute email scandal was impossible because there was no way anyone could have reviewed 650,000 new emails in eight days.

However, Edward Snowden, the fugitive whistle-blower said that it is a doddle and can be done with database scanning software.

FBI Director James Comey’s said that a search through a laptop used by Clinton aide Huma Abedin turned up nothing to change “our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton”.

In other words, the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails remains closed, with no charges sought.

The news was met with relief from the Clinton campaign, and disbelief from Trump’s advisers – including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency:

Trump said: “Right now, she is being protected by a rigged system. It’s a totally rigged system,” he said. “I’ve been saying it for a long time. You can’t review 650,000 new emails in eight days. You can’t do it, folks.”

The FBI finished scanning the emails over the weekend. Many of the emails were personal messages or duplicates of messages that had been examined previously.

Snowden not only showed the code as to how it was done but also revealed a hack he had heard about which could game voting machines. To be honest it is pretty obvious. If the NSA is scanning billions of emails a day, then 650,000 over a weekend could probably be done on a laptop.

Apple does give user details to coppers

Apple-New-North-Korea1A leaked email shows that Apple’s claims not to help coppers is mostly spin and the outfit behaves pretty much the same as any  other company facing a court order.

An email from Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, who reports directly to CEO Tim Cook and  which has ended up in WikiLeaks shows that Apple is working with law enforcement.

In the email the Apple executive writes “we work closely with authorities to comply with legal requests for data that have helped solve complex crimes. Thousands of times every month, we give governments information about Apple customers and devices, in response to warrants and other forms of legal process. We have a team that responds to those requests 24 hours a day.”

The email was supplied to Wikileaks by Russian hackers working for Putin’s propaganda arm and was addressed to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. As such, it was designed to show Hillary Clinton was soft on encryption, but what it showed was Apple was spinning the encryption thing big time.

Jackson writes that at Apple, “We share law enforcement’s concerns about the threat to citizens… Strong encryption does not eliminate Apple’s ability to give law enforcement meta-data or any of a by number of other very useful categories of data.”

The email also compliments Clinton for her “principled and nuanced stance” on encryption in a December debate against Bernie Sanders.

Clinton had said “maybe the backdoor is the wrong door, and I understand what Apple and others are saying about that. But I also understand, when a law enforcement official charged with the responsibility of preventing attack…well, if we can’t know what someone is planning, we are going to have to rely on the neighbour… I just think there’s got to be a way, and I would hope that our tech companies would work with government to figure that out.”

Trump is just as insecure as Hillary

Donald-Trump-funnyWhile US presidential comedy candidate Donald Trump keeps huffing and puffing about how “crooked Hillary” operated insecure email servers it seems his own security is not up to snuff either.

UK Security researcher Kevin Beaumont discovered the Trump organisation has a comedy level of security and uses a hopelessly outdated and insecure internet setup.

TrumpOrg.com servers are using outdated software, Windows Server 2003 and the built-in Internet Information Server 6 web server. Vole cut off support for this technology in July 2015, leaving the systems unpatched for the last 15 months.

Trump Organisation emails don’t support two-factor authentication and its web-based email access page relies on an outdated March 2015 build of Microsoft Exchange 2007.

“Windows Server 2003, IIS 6 and Exchange 2003 went end of life years ago. There are no security fixes. They don’t have basics down,” Beaumont said.

Trump’s supporters have decided to resolve the problem by reporting Beaumont to the Feds, however his research is based on looking at publicly available information rather than actively scanning for vulnerabilities.

The Trump Organisation responded to Beaumont’s criticism by putting out a statement to the media saying that its web setup is shielded behind a firewall.

When he stopped laughing Beaumont tweated: “That’s a bit like saying it’s okay to install WordPress and leave it unpatched forever because there’s a firewall.”

In otherwords, Trump’s reply suggests that IT security is not a glass house he should be biffing boulders in.  However, if hacking Trump were that easy then why doesn’t Wikileaks have hackers who have done it?  Oh that is right the Russians are only interested in providing Clinton leaks.

Clinton wanted Gates or Tim Cook for Vice president

main-qimg-c3c35d5a1a6001a0fcf594c49a5af26fAn email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta released in the recent WikiLeaks dump shows that Clinton wanted Bill or Melinda Gates, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns for the Vice-President role.

There were 40 names on the list, so it was more like my Amazon wish-list, and there were signs that some of the names were not well researched. Apple’s supreme dalek Tim Cook is currently raising money for Ayn Rand–influenced ideologue Paul Ryan who shares similar views about stuffing up the great unwashed for a rich elite of self-serving bastards.

Bill and Melinda Gates are too busy saving the world to be bothered with the job of Vice-President, which unless the president gets sick is more of a ceremonial role. Even Dan Quayle managed to be a vice-president and he could not spell potato.

Burns probably does not want to leave Xerox where she earns on average $13 million a year. In fact her and her management team have all received salary increases over the last six years, but staff has not.

Assange cancels anti-Clinton announcement

Julian AssangeJail bird Julian Assange has been telling the world+dog that he would announce to the world leaked emails that will finish Hillary Clinton’s US presidential campaign on Tuesday.

The leaked emails are believed to have come from the Russian disinformation unit and were given to Wikileaks as part of the Russian bid to get its tax-dodging Donald Trump into the White House. They prefer Trump to Clinton because he appears to owe rather a lot to Russian oligarchs.

However, Assange suddenly cancelled the announcement, which he was going to make from the balcony of London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, because of “security concerns”.  Assange is going to speak to a conference by a live link tomorrow but it does not look like the emails are on the agenda there either. Odd really how “security concerns” can stop a leak of information.  It might stop the presentation of information but not a leak. All Assange has to do is film a video and put it on the internet along with the documents.

Last month Assange appeared on Fox News repeating his assertion that Wikileaks has damaging documents on Clinton and suggested WikiLeaks may soon release “teasers.” However more than three weeks later, that release has yet to take place.

Wikileaks has not said when it will now make its “announcement.”  But word on the street is that the information does not really exist and it is starting to look like Assange was making the whole lot up to draw attention to him during the US election. After all Fox news would put him on air if he says he has dirt on Clinton. It now appears that he never had any emails at all, or his Russian overlords failed to deliver.

Whitman comes out for Clinton

Meg WhitmanThe woman who sliced and diced the maker of expensive printer ink HP into much smaller companies has dubbed Donald Trump an authority figure and backed Hillary Clinton.

HPE CEO Meg Whitman has been a supporter of the GOP and ran as the GOP gubernatorial candidate in California before being defeated by Jerry Brown in 2010. She is also a big GOP fundraiser so her defection will be felt.

She dubbed Donald Trump an “authoritarian character” and a threat to democracy.

“To vote Republican out of party loyalty alone would be to endorse a candidacy that I believe has exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division. Donald Trump’s demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character,” Whitman posted on Facebook about the Republican nominee.

Whitman said it was time “to put country first before party” and that she would give a “substantial” contribution to Clinton’s campaign.

Whitman said that Trump was a “dishonest demagogue” and said that those who look at other failed democracies and believe “it can’t happen here” are mistaken.

“Trump’s unsteady hand would endanger our prosperity and national security. His authoritarian character could threaten much more,” Whitman wrote on Facebook.

Whitman’s endorsement is the latest from a string of business leaders who have moved to back Clinton in recent days, including other high-profile Republicans.

Clinton’s campaign released a list in June with business leaders from whom they had secured support. Among them were several high-profile Republicans, including Dan Akerson, a former chairman and chief executive at General Motors.

Guccifer lied about Clinton hack

pork-pie-croppedOne of the issues that made the case of Hillary Clinton’s private mail server so bad was that its security was so weak a Romanian hacker known as Guccifer turned it over during 2013.

Guccifer, AKA Marcel Lehel Lazar, bragged to Fox News and NBC News in May 2016 about his alleged hacking, so gaining his 15 minutes of fame. The news agencies were so desperate to run some Clinton dirt they overlooked the small fact that Lazar offered no proof at all.

He was a little more accurate when he was extradited to the US and questioned by the Untouchables. In fact, he just told them he was telling porkies. FBI Director James Comey testified under oath before Congress on Thursday that Guccifer never hacked into Clinton’s servers and in fact admitted that he lied.

That was not to say Lazar had not hacked some famous people in the past. Lazar is now in custody in Alexandria, Virginia, awaiting trial for hacking charges. He’s most famous for hacking former President George W. Bush and releasing Bush’s paintings.

But at the time the tech press and the security pendants thought the claims were pants but they were widely ignored.

This was because the Republicans, either believed, or were attempting to make the world believe that Clinton’s server was so insecure that it allowed state secrets to fall in the hands of hackers.  In fact there has been no proof that foreign governments even knew the server existed.

As far as the security was concerned, sophisticated hacking attempts against the server were made and they failed.

Hillary Clinton was silly but did nothing illegal

hillary-sillyHillary Clinton was jolly silly when it came to network security, but an FBI investigation said she did nothing wrong.

After all, if they locked Hillary up for being a bit insecure when it came to data, they would probably have to lock up every network manager, or owner of a corporate network in the country.

The FBI Director James Comey rebuked the Democratic U.S. presidential candidate for “extremely careless” handling of classified information.

Republicans, which hoped Hillary would have been jailed for her “crimes” are trying to make the best of it.  House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest- ranking elected U.S. Republican, said in a statement that Comey’s announcement “defies explanation.”  Probably because it was not the explanation he wanted.

He is planning to haul Comey over the coals before the testify before the House Oversight Committee to see if he can squeeze a bit more mileage from the situation as the election arises. The issue then starts to get as dull as trying to find the other scandals that the Republicans try to pin on the Clintons.

However, what is clear is that as far as security is concerned, the Clinton’s cocked up. But it was the sort of cock up that people do when setting up networks.  Silly, risky, but not worth jailing the CEO or the network manager for.

“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of the classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey said.

No reasonable prosecutor would bring charges, he said. Of course the Republicans would cheerfully dig up a few banjo picking red-neck prosecutors from its ranks, it is unlikely they would get anywhere.

The reason is that the courts are not interested in whether or not Clinton lied to anyone, they are interested if she knowingly set up an insecure server and leaked classified information.  The evidence says she didn’t.  She said up a private email network which did not meet the security standards of for government use and a few emails ended up on it. Lots of companies have done the same thing.  A few have been bitten, and some, like Clinton, were lucky to get away with it.

At a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday night, Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, said the controversy should disqualify Clinton from being president and that her email system may well have been hacked by US enemies.

However, Trump must be aware that he is on shaky ground with that argument. After all, has he got total confidence that none of his companies have ever been hacked because network security was not up to par? There was a small matter of his voice mails being hacked by anonymous. His presidential campaign website, DonaldJTrump.com, was hacked and press releases replaced.  While Clinton’s site was a bit insecure at least it was not hacked. Is he saying that every company which has set up an insecure network should be jailed?  If that is the case he would have to be carting himself off too.

The issue here, which is being over looked by almost everyone, is the fact that corporates and politicians have a woeful ignorance of computer security. The issue is not trying drag these types into court, but to educate.


Tech companies lean on presidential hopefuls

trumpuckerThe tech industry is already leaning on the US presidential hopefuls to see which one will give it a shopping list of things it wants ranging from cheap Chinese workers to supporting the god-awful Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Ahead of the Republican and Democratic conventions in July, the tech industry plans to issue on Wednesday an open letter charting a dozen policy recommendations for the candidates running in the November 8 presidential election. The groups are not aligning themselves with either of the two major political parties.

Backing for the TPP runs counter to positions taken by Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Trump has slammed international trade agreements and he is not fond of bringing in immigrants that to take over US worker’s jobs.

However in March the billionaire real estate developer shied away from arguing against more H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers, saying he was “softening the position because we need to have talented people in this country.” So basically he is just anti-Mexican.

Clinton has not said if she would try to renegotiate TPP, which was signed in February but has not yet got congressional approval. She has said she supports expanding the number of visas for high-skilled workers.

The tech coalition letter, signed by groups including the Internet Association, Telecommunications Industry Association and Information Technology Industry Council, is the first time a wide range of technology trade organisations have staked out a common platform during a presidential campaign, according to a person familiar with its writing.

The platform also calls for “narrowly targeted government access to user data” and recognition of encryption as a “critical security tool.”

Trump wants the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of US phone records, saying that U.S. authorities should err on the side of protecting national security over privacy concerns. He also called for an Apple boycott the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation over unlocking an encrypted iPhone linked to a San Bernardino, California gunman.

Clinton has supported some reforms to the NSA and has said a balance needs to be found between privacy and security in the encryption debate.

The association letter also calls for preventing censorship online by limiting unreasonable third-party liability for speech, support for the sharing economy, and an updated and simplified tax code, among other issues.

Signing the letter are Amazon, Uber, Apple, Facebook, Allied for Startups, the BSA, The Software Alliance, Computer Technology Industry Association, Computer & Communications Industry Association, Consumer Technology Association, Semiconductor Industry Association, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Software & Information Industry Association, Technology CEO Council and TechNet.