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Actually, It's Google That's Eating the World

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the respond-only-with-your-real-name-and-gps-coordinates dept.

Google 205

waderoush writes "An Xconomy column [Friday] suggests that Google is getting too big. When the company was younger, most of its acquisitions related to its core businesses of search, advertising, network infrastructure, and communications. More recently, it's been colonizing areas with a less obvious connection to search, such as travel, social networking, productivity, logistics, energy, robotics, and — with the acquisition this week of Nest Labs — home sensor networks and automation. A Google acquisition can obviously mean a big payoff for startup founders and their investors, but as the company grows by accretion it may actually be slowing innovation in Silicon Valley (since teams inside the Googleplex, with its endless fountain of AdWords revenue, can stop worrying about making money or meeting market needs). And by infiltrating so many corners of consumers' lives — and collecting personal and behavioral data as it goes — it's becoming an all-encompassing presence, and making itself ever more attractive as a target for marketers, data thieves, and government snoops. 'Any sufficiently advanced search, communications, and sensing infrastructure is indistinguishable from Big Brother,' the column argues."

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205 comments

Why fight it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004755)

Go buy some GOOG stock and enjoy the ride....

Re: Why fight it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004823)

Should have bought it ten years ago. It's not going to make any huge jump now, and could fall.

People like you would have bought HP or Nokia stock up until last year.

Re: Why fight it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005245)

No big gains and it will possibly fall? Then short it! Don't forget to quit your day job, you should be doing this professionally!

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004757)

Because Google IS SkyNet.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004953)

This PSA has been brought to you by the Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Oracle etc Axis of evil companies. Have you been Scroogled today?

Re:Duh (4, Insightful)

BeerCat (685972) | about 3 months ago | (#46004999)

I'd say they are becoming more like "Buy N Large" from Wall-E - all pervasive, all providing.

it's time to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004777)

cut off the head of the snake

Re:it's time to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004997)

Who would you rather it be Lycos?

Same Shit Different Day (5, Insightful)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 3 months ago | (#46004785)

Why does every idiotic rambling monologue filled with vague predictions of doom based on the idea that Google is too successful have to be given a place on the front page?

Re:Same Shit Different Day (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004803)

Thanks to Google's real time internet monitoring you were able to defend your masters within minutes of this story being posted. That's impressive. Also a bit scary.

Re:Same Shit Different Day (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004877)

Are you one of those shills/Reputation Manager that MicroShit pays to do their dirty work?

Re:Same Shit Different Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004937)

Yes. Have you been Scroogled today?

Re:Same Shit Different Day (2, Insightful)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 3 months ago | (#46004921)

There's a difference between defending Google (which I didn't do) and complaining about the shitty quality of what passes as "stuff that matters" on /.

Re: Same Shit Different Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005177)

Yep.

Obvious shill versus subtle shill. Ya don't get your bonus by being fumblingly obvious.

Re:Same Shit Different Day (1, Offtopic)

retroworks (652802) | about 3 months ago | (#46004835)

"The End Is Near" signs didn't go away just because General Electric's purchase of NBC television in 1986 didn't accomplish the job as we feared.

Re:Same Shit Different Day (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004855)

Why don't you break down and read the fucking article, genius? It has a good point that as google expands Big Brother will see a lot more of you.

If you don't "care" about google's ventures into spying on the public and expansion into new sectors, fine. Shut up about it.

Re:Same Shit Different Day (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 3 months ago | (#46004967)

I read it. It's literally the same shit, different day. Nothing in it is new. It's all been posted here before.

Re:Same Shit Different Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005015)

Maybe you have no ability to comprehend what you read. Pity, you seem like such an intelligent useless old curmudgeon.

Re: Same Shit Different Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005335)

Angry AC has an agenda it seems.

Re:Same Shit Different Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005181)

Google is no longer dependent upon adwords for funding as it's become the recepticle of much of every TLA (Three Letter Agency) funding throughout the world and because it's a company instead of a Government Agency, it's immune to most of the laws in regards to "spying on your citizens" that everyone is screaming about.

Re:Same Shit Different Day (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#46004993)

Any sufficiently advanced search, communications, and sensing infrastructure is indistinguishable from Big Brother

Most people have gotten weary of all the NSA "revelations" that a spy agency is spying on people, so the ones trying to keep it on the front page are resorting to slightly indirect references to the same topic.

Re: Same Shit Different Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005197)

It's still an important issue, even if some forces want to keep it off the front page.

Possibly it's not a fad to carry on about it at the moment. "Look over there! What a cute squirrel! "

Re:Same Shit Different Day (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 months ago | (#46005439)

Because 15 years ago you can replace that sentence with Microsoft or MSFT, or M$FT.

Google is the new big guy and the doom guys love the new big guy.

Hipsters are killing (have killed?) SV. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004795)

Silicon Valley used to be a truly remarkable place. It was where industry and the future truly did collide head-on. And because of this, great things happened there.

Hewlett-Packard. Fairchild Semiconductor. Xerox PARC. Intel. Sun Microsystems. Cisco Systems.

Those were the kind of names we came to associate with very advanced technological achievement. They earned our respect with the tremendous advances they made.

But then something happened. Silicon Valley ceased to be about a productive, beneficial future. It became about a shitty, rotten future. It became about "social media". It became about advertising. It became about a disturbing level of data collection and mining.

The Silicon Valley of today is a mere shell of what it once was. Clad in fedora hats and rampant hipsterism, Silicon Valley of today is a sissified, degenerate place. Gone are the real scientists and engineers who advanced technology for all of mankind. Gone are their advances. Gone are the hope they brought.

I weep for Silicon Valley. It truly does make me quite distraught to think about what has happened to it. One of the greatest intellectual creations ever to existed has been crushed by men who wear tight jeans and glasses without lenses. It has been dragged through the mud by overweight, unshaven manchildren wearing stained shirts with shitty Japanese drawings on them. It has been shit upon repeatedly by self-styled "entrepreneurs" and "engineers" whose only talent is unjustifiable self promotion.

It is too late to save Silicon Valley. But other technologically-inclined regions should take note of what happened there. Keep away the hipsters. Keep away the bearded manchildren. Keep away the "entrepreneurs" and "engineers" who spew forth about Ruby on Rails. These people are an infection, and this infection will destroy even the most robust of technological and industrial communities. Do not let them ruin your community like they ruined Silicon Valley's.

Re: Hipsters are killing (have killed?) SV. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004861)

Says the person who has never been to the Bay Area...everything you said is 100% incorrect. How do I know this? I like in Palo Alto and have grown up here. If you think Cisco and HP were advancing technology more than Google, Apple and all of the start-ups in the valley then you really should read more about tech - and probably spend less time unwrapping hard candies and telling school children to get off your lawn

No, dorks. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004863)

SV went from scientists and engineers selling a new product they invented to a bunch of dorks who are trying to get rich quick.

When I see someone with an over inflated ego call herself a JavaScript "Engineer" (engineer?! Oh, please!) who is has this incredible "innovation" (Just Another Fucking Social Media/Pimp Subscriber's Data for Ads and Marketing software), I just shake my head and see that SV has jumped the shark,

I AM seeing some incredible innovations in healthcare in ...wait for it ... India. American trained Indian doctors are giving superior healthcare at a fraction of the price to some of the poorest people on Earth. And the docs are STILL making a very nice living - if not more because of the processes they invented. Win/win!!

THAT is exciting and Innovative.

Hipsters are dorks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004947)

Some dorks are hipsters. All hipsters are dorks. So what you and the GP are saying are both equally true.

Those "JavaScript engineers" you talk of are almost all hipsters (and thus dorks, too). The people involved with the pathetic modern "startups" you mention are also hipsters (and thus dorks, too).

Technical innovation will never come from people who are very concerned with how they dress, or with how they style their mustaches and beards, or with how obscure their music is, or with being "ironic" (whatever the hell that actually means).

Re: Hipsters are dorks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005283)

I am convinced that the solution to the problem is for the nerds, the people who actually know their shit and do the real tech, to stop trying to get a seat at the front in the hipster bus. We will never succeed. It isn't in our nature even to be happy if we did. Do stuff because you like doing it again. Shun the hip bullshit. We need another Popular Electronics and for O'Reilly to become 'boring' again. There is still Nuts and Volts and I think Circuit Cellar.
 

Re:Hipsters are dorks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005631)

Technical innovation will come from the people who are very concerned with how others dress, or with how they style their facial hair, or their tastes in music. Keep fighting the good fight.

Re:Hipsters are killing (have killed?) SV. (2)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 3 months ago | (#46004875)

It's the market which picked the winners.

Re:Hipsters are killing (have killed?) SV. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004971)

It's the market which picked the winners.

Keep telling yourself that.

All the VCs are just concentrating their focus on SV and young people.- just look at the demographic of people who get the funding and marketing help.

And SV are following the same herd mentality - today it's social media/advertising - because everyone else is doing because they saw one dork hit the startup lottery; so they all want to play to win. It's like slot machines: one hits and everyone wants to play it.

If it were up to the new kids in SV, the iPad and iTouch wouldn't have happened.

Re:Hipsters are killing (have killed?) SV. (1)

epine (68316) | about 3 months ago | (#46005011)

It's the market which picked the winners.

Along with a butterfly in Chile, or more than one butterfly, or even an untold number of butterflies.

It's really too bad we can't put markets in charge of heavenly orbits, as that would finally solve the N-body problem. People just aren't thinking big enough.

Re:Hipsters are killing (have killed?) SV. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004975)

Delicious pasta, mmm.

Re:Hipsters are killing (have killed?) SV. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005555)

Hipster, hipster, hipster; don't hurt yourselves rushing to mod me up. Also hilarious to call others 'sissified' and 'degenerate,' given Turing and what happened to Turing.

"Remember, remember, when was it..." (1)

ExXter (1361251) | about 3 months ago | (#46004799)

"...the eve of Microsofts november? Where people, state, country and all of human world cried out havoc! God behave, its growing too big! Destroy the cancer show no mercy... as we are just and righteous to judge justice upon thee. Again we shall mount our horses, sharpen our swords and call for the holy crusade!" Sorry its sunday, I couldn't resist. If people notice just now then I doubt it will change a single thing. But hope remains, last of the curses in pandoras box!

Re:"Remember, remember, when was it..." (0)

JWW (79176) | about 3 months ago | (#46004821)

and Apple too, to powerful with its digital music and its (gasp) Walled Garden.

Surely they are too large. Hoist the banners, sound the trumpets!!

Apple Abusive (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 3 months ago | (#46004951)

and Apple too, to powerful with its digital music and its (gasp) Walled Garden.

Abusive definitely, their behaviour in the disgusting Book caper where they raised the price of Ebooks for none Apple users is something they continue to act unapologetic . The Control they have with Carriers forcing none Apple users again to pay for Apples products. I would argue their control of Digital music is still too high...fortunately the trend for that has dropped. As for the Walled garden thing...I am not really sure how it is related; The FSF protected Apple users from Apple!? allowing jailbreak to be legal again. Personally though I think people should be made aware of Apple abuses and alternatives exist.

Isn't this a Google Article?

Re: Apple Abusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005305)

Yeah, we are supposed to pick sides and form up teams. Google or Apple. Coach says he will take us out for hamburgers after the game.

Reminder (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004805)

It is rude to randomly redirect visitors to beta.slashdot.
Even more so because beta sucks.

Providing a hard to find opt-out, http://slashdot.org/?nobeta=1 [slashdot.org] , just upgrades the aggravation level from "rude" to "insulting and infuriating".
The only acceptable option is, as always, opt-in.

I guess you need reminding. a lot.

The beta will kill Slashdot if it goes live. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004845)

You're not alone.

As somebody who has worked in the software industry for decades now, I find it stunning that the Slashdot beta project has not been terminated yet. It's a failure in every single sense. The users here almost all absolutely hate it. It looks worse than the existing site. It functions worse than the existing site. I think it's slower than the existing site. There is so much wasted empty space. The fonts are harder to read. The discussion is much, much more difficult to follow. It's harder to post a comment. Being forced to use it unexpectedly affects users trying to use the existing site!

And those comparisons are to an existing Slashdot site that was Web 2.0-ified a while back, making it even shittier than the site that preceded it!

While we should be accustomed to social media web sites shitting all over their users with bad redesigns, Slashdot is really taking it a step beyond with this beta site. I can sincerely see a Digg v4-style disaster happening again if the beta site goes live, it's just that bad. The beta will drive away the few remaining users of value.

I sure hope that Slashdot does the right thing, and puts an end to this beta site project. Nothing good will come out of it, aside from lessons about what not to do. Everything about the beta site is just plain bad. Terminate the project, throw away the code, and move on. And do this well before the beta site ever replaces the current one!

Re:The beta will kill Slashdot if it goes live. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005017)

They plan to start a subscription service which allows the paid users to continue using the "classic" website design. Everyone else will be forced onto whatever abortion the beta design becomess.

Re:The beta will kill Slashdot if it goes live. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005051)

/. BETA sucks MONKEY BALLS - is *anyone* listening?

Re:The beta will kill Slashdot if it goes live. (3, Insightful)

quacking duck (607555) | about 3 months ago | (#46005627)

On the whole I don't mind the current "Web 2.0" desktop version, but if beta is half as bad as the mobile version they forced us into a year or so ago, /. is toast.

The day /. pushed out the "updated" mobile version, where all the "Filtered due to preferences" take up more of the page than actual comments, was the day my /. visits dropped by at least half. Seriously, just hide/collapse the damn thing entirely, there isn't even a way to actually view it anyway if I wanted to see what an unfiltered comment was replying to, it's a total waste of space.

On the upside, I'm far more productive and/or social when I'm out of the house.

"can stop worrying about making money" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004815)

You say this like it's a bad thing.

Sounds to me like freedom to try really crazy/cool ideas that may not be immediately financially viable.

Re: "can stop worrying about making money" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004879)

Exactly right! Why is Google working on contact lenses that can help diabetics monitor their blood sugar level? Because it is the right hung to do and can actually have a meaningful impact on people's lives. Advertising fuels the truly great innovation happening there and it is great!

Re: "can stop worrying about making money" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005037)

They are only doing that because they have diabetes and are afraid of a little needle in the finger.

Re: "can stop worrying about making money" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005343)

It's just a little pin prick. More like a thumb tack than a needle.

Re:"can stop worrying about making money" (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 3 months ago | (#46005059)

A lot of people seem to have fixed on the notion that the prospect of immediate financial gain is the primary driver of innovation. These people are fools, but they're influential fools.

Killing its search ad business (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004819)

Animosity towards Google is rising because Google is extending its data grabbing into other domains, and that prompts people to look for alternatives, even regarding Google's core selling point, web search.

Re: Killing its search ad business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005459)

Amazing how all the hating posts today are AC. Working for Microsoft perhaps?

Who is leading this campaign today?

Too big (2)

mseeger (40923) | about 3 months ago | (#46004827)

Actually, i think Google knows that it is getting too big: the breakneck speed of acquisitions is the result of the intent, to get as big as they can before a more confining regulation sets in.

Re:Too big (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#46004839)

Or to diversify and secure - it's risky to be entirely focused on search. More diverse business, less risk.

Re:Too big (1)

mseeger (40923) | about 3 months ago | (#46004859)

Yep, but we come back to my argument: The biggest risk for the for Google on the search market is regulation (see EU proceedings).

Re:Too big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004911)

Obviously they need to buy a media outlet now. A major one. It would be funny to see them buy Fox, but they could settle for a less viewed station and then build it up.

Re:Too big (2)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 months ago | (#46005541)

that only works if what you diversify into is capable of picking up the slack.

MSFT will fail, as steve ballmer spent a decade and still couldn't move MSFT past windows and office dominance. xbox is getting there, but it is still losing money on every sale of the unit. and after ten years is just starting to turn profit on the R&D for the consoles.

Google's core business is search and advertising. The problem is targeted ads are failures. I am 100% less likely to use a targeted advertisement than a regular one. why? because targeted ads only work for what you already have bought. Amazon has 15 years of my buying history. they have not once sent me a useful targeted ad.

google is throwing everything they can out there and see what sticks. cars, tablets, phones, email, bundling, whatever. now look at google plus. you have to have a google plus account to use google services yet google plus is a wasteland of wannabe's

Social media is failing, because programs + advertisers want you to log in with your social media account so they can broadcast their ads over your social media. nearly every tablet app wants you to broadcast every single time you play a fart noise(or insert stupid game step here) on your device.

Advertising is over saturating the marketplaces so badly people are tuning out the advertisements. which mean the advertisers in turn push harder and harder.

Advertising is a core business of google. as advertising becomes less and less successful, google has to change up.

Their business ... (1)

abrotman (323016) | about 3 months ago | (#46004849)

has always been Data.

Re:Their business ... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 3 months ago | (#46004995)

They also seem to have an interest in power (as in electrical), probably because of their huge power requirements. The Nest thing is kind of similar to what they were doing with home power monitoring, or at least it's in the ball park.

Re:Their business ... (1)

cjjjer (530715) | about 3 months ago | (#46005091)

I can see it now, as you browse the internet Google is targeting you ads about insulation and energy efficiency because your wife likes to keep the temp at 25c/78f because she is constantly cold.

Re:Their business ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005325)

No, Google will send you targeted ads for divorce lawyers and Russian mail order brides from Siberia.

Re: Their business ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005375)

I let my wife use a little soace heater by her recliner. It heats up the room, which has the thermostat in it, which lowers the heat in the rest of the house, lowering the gas bill

Don't be evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004869)

Big Brother can do no evil

Fairly predictable, really. (3, Informative)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#46004871)

Fta: Google had 67% of the US search market share in November of 2013 (Bing 18%, Yahoo 11%), and $56.5 Billion in cash.

This is what a successful mega-corporation does when opportunities for growth within its primary revenue stream stagnate, or at least taper off.

Good for consumers? Hardly. Competition, rather than consolidation, is generally in the better interest of the average buyer.

N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004885)

By david e. sanger and thom shanker = jan. 14, 2014

= URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/nsa-effort-pries-open-computers-not-connected-to-internet.html [nytimes.com]
=Image: http://cryptome.org/2014/01/nsa-quantum-radio.jpg [cryptome.org]
== Coverage #1: http://news.slashdot.org/story/14/01/15/1324216/nyt-nsa-put-100000-radio-pathway-backdoors-in-pcs [slashdot.org]
== Coverage #2: http://cryptome.org/2014/01/nsa-quantum-radio.htm [cryptome.org]
== Coverage #3: http://rt.com/usa/nsa-radio-wave-cyberattack-607/ [rt.com]
=== Archive: http://web.archive.org/web/20140116010210/http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/nsa-effort-pries-open-computers-not-connected-to-internet.html [archive.org]

"WASHINGTON - The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.

The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.

The radio frequency technology has helped solve one of the biggest problems facing American intelligence agencies for years: getting into computers that adversaries, and some American partners, have tried to make impervious to spying or cyberattack. In most cases, the radio frequency hardware must be physically inserted by a spy, a manufacturer or an unwitting user.

The N.S.A. calls its efforts more an act of "active defense" against foreign cyberattacks than a tool to go on the offensive. But when Chinese attackers place similar software on the computer systems of American companies or government agencies, American officials have protested, often at the presidential level.

Among the most frequent targets of the N.S.A. and its Pentagon partner, United States Cyber Command, have been units of the Chinese Army, which the United States has accused of launching regular digital probes and attacks on American industrial and military targets, usually to steal secrets or intellectual property. But the program, code-named Quantum, has also been successful in inserting software into Russian military networks and systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, trade institutions inside the European Union, and sometime partners against terrorism like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, according to officials and an N.S.A. map that indicates sites of what the agency calls "computer network exploitation."

"Whatâ(TM)s new here is the scale and the sophistication of the intelligence agencyâ(TM)s ability to get into computers and networks to which no one has ever had access before," said James Andrew Lewis, the cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "Some of these capabilities have been around for a while, but the combination of learning how to penetrate systems to insert software and learning how to do that using radio frequencies has given the U.S. a window itâ(TM)s never had before."

No Domestic Use Seen

There is no evidence that the N.S.A. has implanted its software or used its radio frequency technology inside the United States. While refusing to comment on the scope of the Quantum program, the N.S.A. said its actions were not comparable to Chinaâ(TM)s.

"N.S.A.'s activities are focused and specifically deployed against - and only against - valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements," Vanee Vines, an agency spokeswoman, said in a statement. "We do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of - or give intelligence we collect to - U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line."

Over the past two months, parts of the program have been disclosed in documents from the trove leaked by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. A Dutch newspaper published the map of areas where the United States has inserted spy software, sometimes in cooperation with local authorities, often covertly. Der Spiegel, a German newsmagazine, published the N.S.A.'s catalog of hardware products that can secretly transmit and receive digital signals from computers, a program called ANT. The New York Times withheld some of those details, at the request of American intelligence officials, when it reported, in the summer of 2012, on American cyberattacks on Iran.

President Obama is scheduled to announce on Friday what recommendations he is accepting from an advisory panel on changing N.S.A. practices. The panel agreed with Silicon Valley executives that some of the techniques developed by the agency to find flaws in computer systems undermine global confidence in a range of American-made information products like laptop computers and cloud services.

Embracing Silicon Valleyâ(TM)s critique of the N.S.A., the panel has recommended banning, except in extreme cases, the N.S.A. practice of exploiting flaws in common software to aid in American surveillance and cyberattacks. It also called for an end to government efforts to weaken publicly available encryption systems, and said the government should never develop secret ways into computer systems to exploit them, which sometimes include software implants.

Richard A. Clarke, an official in the Clinton and Bush administrations who served as one of the five members of the advisory panel, explained the groupâ(TM)s reasoning in an email last week, saying that "it is more important that we defend ourselves than that we attack others."

"Holes in encryption software would be more of a risk to us than a benefit," he said, adding: "If we can find the vulnerability, so can others. Itâ(TM)s more important that we protect our power grid than that we get into Chinaâ(TM)s."

From the earliest days of the Internet, the N.S.A. had little trouble monitoring traffic because a vast majority of messages and searches were moved through servers on American soil. As the Internet expanded, so did the N.S.A.'s efforts to understand its geography. A program named Treasure Map tried to identify nearly every node and corner of the web, so that any computer or mobile device that touched it could be located.

A 2008 map, part of the Snowden trove, notes 20 programs to gain access to big fiber-optic cables - it calls them "covert, clandestine or cooperative large accesses" - not only in the United States but also in places like Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Middle East. The same map indicates that the United States had already conducted "more than 50,000 worldwide implants," and a more recent budget document said that by the end of last year that figure would rise to about 85,000. A senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the actual figure was most likely closer to 100,000.

That map suggests how the United States was able to speed ahead with implanting malicious software on the computers around the world that it most wanted to monitor - or disable before they could be used to launch a cyberattack.

A Focus on Defense

In interviews, officials and experts said that a vast majority of such implants are intended only for surveillance and serve as an early warning system for cyberattacks directed at the United States.

"How do you ensure that Cyber Command people" are able to look at "those that are attacking us?" a senior official, who compared it to submarine warfare, asked in an interview several months ago.

"That is what the submarines do all the time," said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe policy. "They track the adversary submarines." In cyberspace, he said, the United States tries "to silently track the adversaries while theyâ(TM)re trying to silently track you."

If tracking subs was a Cold War cat-and-mouse game with the Soviets, tracking malware is a pursuit played most aggressively with the Chinese.

The United States has targeted Unit 61398, the Shanghai-based Chinese Army unit believed to be responsible for many of the biggest cyberattacks on the United States, in an effort to see attacks being prepared. With Australiaâ(TM)s help, one N.S.A. document suggests, the United States has also focused on another specific Chinese Army unit.

Documents obtained by Mr. Snowden indicate that the United States has set up two data centers in China - perhaps through front companies - from which it can insert malware into computers. When the Chinese place surveillance software on American computer systems - and they have, on systems like those at the Pentagon and at The Times - the United States usually regards it as a potentially hostile act, a possible prelude to an attack. Mr. Obama laid out Americaâ(TM)s complaints about those practices to President Xi Jinping of China in a long session at a summit meeting in California last June.

At that session, Mr. Obama tried to differentiate between conducting surveillance for national security - which the United States argues is legitimate - and conducting it to steal intellectual property.

"The argument is not working," said Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution, a co-author of a new book called "Cybersecurity and Cyberwar." "To the Chinese, gaining economic advantage is part of national security. And the Snowden revelations have taken a lot of the pressure off" the Chinese. Still, the United States has banned the sale of computer servers from a major Chinese manufacturer, Huawei, for fear that they could contain technology to penetrate American networks.

An Old Technology

The N.S.A.'s efforts to reach computers unconnected to a network have relied on a century-old technology updated for modern times: radio transmissions.

In a catalog produced by the agency that was part of the Snowden documents released in Europe, there are page after page of devices using technology that would have brought a smile to Q, James Bondâ(TM)s technology supplier.

One, called Cottonmouth I, looks like a normal USB plug but has a tiny transceiver buried in it. According to the catalog, it transmits information swept from the computer "through a covert channel" that allows "data infiltration and exfiltration." Another variant of the technology involves tiny circuit boards that can be inserted in a laptop computer - either in the field or when they are shipped from manufacturers - so that the computer is broadcasting to the N.S.A. even while the computerâ(TM)s user enjoys the false confidence that being walled off from the Internet constitutes real protection.

The relay station it communicates with, called Nightstand, fits in an oversize briefcase, and the system can attack a computer "from as far away as eight miles under ideal environmental conditions." It can also insert packets of data in milliseconds, meaning that a false message or piece of programming can outrace a real one to a target computer. Similar stations create a link between the target computers and the N.S.A., even if the machines are isolated from the Internet.

Computers are not the only targets. Dropoutjeep attacks iPhones. Other hardware and software are designed to infect large network servers, including those made by the Chinese.

Most of those code names and products are now at least five years old, and they have been updated, some experts say, to make the United States less dependent on physically getting hardware into adversariesâ(TM) computer systems.

The N.S.A. refused to talk about the documents that contained these descriptions, even after they were published in Europe.

"Continuous and selective publication of specific techniques and tools used by N.S.A. to pursue legitimate foreign intelligence targets is detrimental to the security of the United States and our allies," Ms. Vines, the N.S.A. spokeswoman, said.

But the Iranians and others discovered some of those techniques years ago. The hardware in the N.S.A.'s catalog was crucial in the cyberattacks on Iranâ(TM)s nuclear facilities, code-named Olympic Games, that began around 2008 and proceeded through the summer of 2010, when a technical error revealed the attack software, later called Stuxnet. That was the first major test of the technology.

One feature of the Stuxnet attack was that the technology the United States slipped into Iranâ(TM)s nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz was able to map how it operated, then "phone home" the details. Later, that equipment was used to insert malware that blew up nearly 1,000 centrifuges, and temporarily set back Iranâ(TM)s program.

But the Stuxnet strike does not appear to be the last time the technology was used in Iran. In 2012, a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps moved a rock near the countryâ(TM)s underground Fordo nuclear enrichment plant. The rock exploded and spewed broken circuit boards that the Iranian news media described as "the remains of a device capable of intercepting data from computers at the plant." The origins of that device have never been determined.

On Sunday, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency, Iranâ(TM)s Oil Ministry issued another warning about possible cyberattacks, describing a series of defenses it was erecting - and making no mention of what are suspected of being its own attacks on Saudi Arabiaâ(TM)s largest oil producer."

"A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers."

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

The New Zealand Copyright Act 1994 specifies certain circumstances where all or a substantial part of a copyright work may be used without the copyright owner's permission. A "fair dealing" with copyright material does not infringe copyright if it is for the following purposes: research or private study; criticism or review; or reporting current events.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

This is based mostly on the NSA Catalog released by Jacob Appelbaum and Der Spiegel on 30 December 2013:

http://cryptome.org/2013/12/nsa-catalog.zip [cryptome.org] (16.2MB)

NY Times reportedly has the full Snowden material sent to it by The Guardian but, like others, has published very little of it:

http://cryptome.org/2013/11/snowden-tally.htm [cryptome.org]

These Guys Are Creating a Brain Scanner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004895)

These Guys Are Creating a Brain Scanner You Can Print Out at Home

- http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2014/01/openbci/ [wired.com]

-- http://www.openbci.com/ [openbci.com]
-- https://github.com/OpenBCI [github.com]

"Bootstrapped with a little funding help from DARPA â" the research arm of the Department of Defense â" the device is known as OpenBCI. It includes sensors and a mini-computer that plugs into sensors on a black skull-grabbing piece of plastic called the âoeSpider Claw 3000,â which you print out on a 3-D printer. Put it all together, and it operates as a low-cost electroencephalography (EEG) brainwave scanner that connects to your PC."

Archived: http://web.archive.org/web/20140113131516/http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2014/01/openbci/ [archive.org]

GOOG buy MSFT and solve the world's problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004899)

Jury! Imagine the goodness to come from this.

Quietnet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004901)

Quietnet: Simple chat program using near ultrasonic frequencies.

"Simple chat program using near ultrasonic frequencies. Works without Wifi or Bluetooth and won't show up in a pcap.

Note: If you can clearly hear the send script working then your speakers may not be high quality enough to produce sounds in the near ultrasonic range.
Usage

run python send.py in one terminal window and python listen.py in another. Text you input into the send.py window should appear (after a delay) in the listen.py window.

Warning: May annoy some animals and humans."[1]

https://github.com/Katee/quietnet [github.com]
[1] https://kate.io/ [kate.io]
via: http://boingboing.net/2014/01/11/quietnet-near-ultrasonic-mess.html [boingboing.net]

best references overlooked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004903)

mlk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs jfk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNSUuseNcOI

Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004907)

http://web.archive.org/web/20140109031337/http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/burglars-who-took-on-fbi-abandon-shadows.html [archive.org]

Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows

By MARK MAZZETTIJAN. 7, 2014

PHILADELPHIA â" The perfect crime is far easier to pull off when nobody is watching.

So on a night nearly 43 years ago, while Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier bludgeoned each other over 15 rounds in a televised title bout viewed by millions around the world, burglars took a lock pick and a crowbar and broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in a suburb of Philadelphia, making off with nearly every document inside.

They were never caught, and the stolen documents that they mailed anonymously to newspaper reporters were the first trickle of what would become a flood of revelations about extensive spying and dirty-tricks operations by the F.B.I. against dissident groups.

The burglary in Media, Pa., on March 8, 1971, is a historical echo today, as disclosures by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden have cast another unflattering light on government spying and opened a national debate about the proper limits of government surveillance. The burglars had, until now, maintained a vow of silence about their roles in the operation. They were content in knowing that their actions had dealt the first significant blow to an institution that had amassed enormous power and prestige during J. Edgar Hooverâ(TM)s lengthy tenure as director.

âoeWhen you talked to people outside the movement about what the F.B.I. was doing, nobody wanted to believe it,â said one of the burglars, Keith Forsyth, who is finally going public about his involvement. âoeThere was only one way to convince people that it was true, and that was to get it in their handwriting.â

Mr. Forsyth, now 63, and other members of the group can no longer be prosecuted for what happened that night, and they agreed to be interviewed before the release this week of a book written by one of the first journalists to receive the stolen documents. The author, Betty Medsger, a former reporter for The Washington Post, spent years sifting through the F.B.I.â(TM)s voluminous case file on the episode and persuaded five of the eight men and women who participated in the break-in to end their silence.

Unlike Mr. Snowden, who downloaded hundreds of thousands of digital N.S.A. files onto computer hard drives, the Media burglars did their work the 20th-century way: they cased the F.B.I. office for months, wore gloves as they packed the papers into suitcases, and loaded the suitcases into getaway cars. When the operation was over, they dispersed. Some remained committed to antiwar causes, while others, like John and Bonnie Raines, decided that the risky burglary would be their final act of protest against the Vietnam War and other government actions before they moved on with their lives.

âoeWe didnâ(TM)t need attention, because we had done what needed to be done,â said Mr. Raines, 80, who had, with his wife, arranged for family members to raise the coupleâ(TM)s three children if they were sent to prison. âoeThe â(TM)60s were over. We didnâ(TM)t have to hold on to what we did back then.â

A Meticulous Plan

The burglary was the idea of William C. Davidon, a professor of physics at Haverford College and a fixture of antiwar protests in Philadelphia, a city that by the early 1970s had become a white-hot center of the peace movement. Mr. Davidon was frustrated that years of organized demonstrations seemed to have had little impact.

In the summer of 1970, months after President Richard M. Nixon announced the United Statesâ(TM) invasion of Cambodia, Mr. Davidon began assembling a team from a group of activists whose commitment and discretion he had come to trust.

The group â" originally nine, before one member dropped out â" concluded that it would be too risky to try to break into the F.B.I. office in downtown Philadelphia, where security was tight. They soon settled on the bureauâ(TM)s satellite office in Media, in an apartment building across the street from the county courthouse.

That decision carried its own risks: Nobody could be certain whether the satellite office would have any documents about the F.B.I.â(TM)s surveillance of war protesters, or whether a security alarm would trip as soon as the burglars opened the door.

The group spent months casing the building, driving past it at all times of the night and memorizing the routines of its residents.

âoeWe knew when people came home from work, when their lights went out, when they went to bed, when they woke up in the morning,â said Mr. Raines, who was a professor of religion at Temple University at the time. âoeWe were quite certain that we understood the nightly activities in and around that building.â

But it wasnâ(TM)t until Ms. Raines got inside the office that the group grew confident that it did not have a security system. Weeks before the burglary, she visited the office posing as a Swarthmore College student researching job opportunities for women at the F.B.I.

The burglary itself went off largely without a hitch, except for when Mr. Forsyth, the designated lock-picker, had to break into a different entrance than planned when he discovered that the F.B.I. had installed a lock on the main door that he could not pick. He used a crowbar to break the second lock, a deadbolt above the doorknob.

After packing the documents into suitcases, the burglars piled into getaway cars and rendezvoused at a farmhouse to sort through what they had stolen. To their relief, they soon discovered that the bulk of it was hard evidence of the F.B.I.â(TM)s spying on political groups. Identifying themselves as the Citizensâ(TM) Commission to Investigate the F.B.I., the burglars sent select documents to several newspaper reporters. Two weeks after the burglary, Ms. Medsger wrote the first article based on the files, after the Nixon administration tried unsuccessfully to get The Post to return the documents.

Other news organizations that had received the documents, including The New York Times, followed with their own reports.

Ms. Medsgerâ(TM)s article cited what was perhaps the most damning document from the cache, a 1970 memorandum that offered a glimpse into Hooverâ(TM)s obsession with snuffing out dissent. The document urged agents to step up their interviews of antiwar activists and members of dissident student groups.

âoeIt will enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles and will further serve to get the point across there is an F.B.I. agent behind every mailbox,â the message from F.B.I. headquarters said. Another document, signed by Hoover himself, revealed widespread F.B.I. surveillance of black student groups on college campuses.

But the document that would have the biggest impact on reining in the F.B.I.â(TM)s domestic spying activities was an internal routing slip, dated 1968, bearing a mysterious word: Cointelpro.

Neither the Media burglars nor the reporters who received the documents understood the meaning of the term, and it was not until several years later, when the NBC News reporter Carl Stern obtained more files from the F.B.I. under the Freedom of Information Act, that the contours of Cointelpro â" shorthand for Counterintelligence Program â" were revealed.

Since 1956, the F.B.I. had carried out an expansive campaign to spy on civil rights leaders, political organizers and suspected Communists, and had tried to sow distrust among protest groups. Among the grim litany of revelations was a blackmail letter F.B.I. agents had sent anonymously to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., threatening to expose his extramarital affairs if he did not commit suicide.

âoeIt wasnâ(TM)t just spying on Americans,â said Loch K. Johnson, a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Georgia who was an aide to Senator Frank Church, Democrat of Idaho. âoeThe intent of Cointelpro was to destroy lives and ruin reputations.â

Senator Churchâ(TM)s investigation in the mid-1970s revealed still more about the extent of decades of F.B.I. abuses, and led to greater congressional oversight of the F.B.I. and other American intelligence agencies. The Church Committeeâ(TM)s final report about the domestic surveillance was blunt. âoeToo many people have been spied upon by too many government agencies, and too much information has been collected,â it read.

By the time the committee released its report, Hoover was dead and the empire he had built at the F.B.I. was being steadily dismantled. The roughly 200 agents he had assigned to investigate the Media burglary came back empty-handed, and the F.B.I. closed the case on March 11, 1976 â" three days after the statute of limitations for burglary charges had expired.

Michael P. Kortan, a spokesman for the F.B.I., said that âoea number of events during that era, including the Media burglary, contributed to changes to how the F.B.I. identified and addressed domestic security threats, leading to reform of the F.B.I.â(TM)s intelligence policies and practices and the creation of investigative guidelines by the Department of Justice.â

According to Ms. Medsgerâ(TM)s book, âoeThe Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hooverâ(TM)s Secret F.B.I.,â only one of the burglars was on the F.B.I.â(TM)s final list of possible suspects before the case was closed.

A Retreat Into Silence

The eight burglars rarely spoke to one another while the F.B.I. investigation was proceeding and never again met as a group.

Mr. Davidon died late last year from complications of Parkinsonâ(TM)s disease. He had planned to speak publicly about his role in the break-in, but three of the burglars have chosen to remain anonymous.

Among those who have come forward â" Mr. Forsyth, the Raineses and a man named Bob Williamson â" there is some wariness of how their decision will be viewed.

The passage of years has worn some of the edges off the once radical political views of John and Bonnie Raines. But they said they felt a kinship toward Mr. Snowden, whose revelations about N.S.A. spying they see as a bookend to their own disclosures so long ago.

They know some people will criticize them for having taken part in something that, if they had been caught and convicted, might have separated them from their children for years. But they insist they would never have joined the team of burglars had they not been convinced they would get away with it.

âoeIt looks like weâ(TM)re terribly reckless people,â Mr. Raines said. âoeBut there was absolutely no one in Washington â" senators, congressmen, even the president â" who dared hold J. Edgar Hoover to accountability.â

âoeIt became pretty obvious to us,â he said, âoethat if we donâ(TM)t do it, nobody will.â

_______________

A version of this article appears in print on January 7, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows.

_______________

The New Zealand Copyright Act 1994 specifies certain circumstances where all or a substantial part of a copyright work may be used without the copyright owner's permission. A "fair dealing" with copyright material does not infringe copyright if it is for the following purposes: research or private study; criticism or review; or reporting current events.

News at 11. Google is evil. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004909)

Never understood the appeal of Google to self proclaimed geeks.

Everyone is condemning the NSA snooping, but criticise Google, and hordes of Google sheep will try to hunt you down, down mod you into oblivion and kill you for blasphemy.
They use Tor, proxies and VPNs, yet use Google services and Android phones. They use adblock tools yet support the biggest ad company there is. It's pure schizophrenia.

And why? Because they are "open" ( except for all the good and important parts) and release some unimportant source code. It boggles my mind why so many are supporting Google.

And I haven't even mentioned the ever declining quality of their services yet.

Re:News at 11. Google is evil. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005049)

Actually, no. Geeks stopped using google many years ago. It's the masses of sheep out there that still use it, and the defense of google comes from google shills for the most part.

The rest of us? We moved on, when it became clear google was evil.

Re:News at 11. Google is evil. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005109)

I am so desperately hopeful that you are right, alas I fear there are still too many braindead geek zombies obeying their Google master. I was too often modded -1, Troll here on /. for even the slightest hint of opposition to Google.

The alternative? (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 3 months ago | (#46004923)

If huge companies that are highly profitable don't spend and invest their money, how is that money ever going to get back into the economy? It seems to me that if giant companies like Google don't expand into other sectors of the economy then the only other alternative is for them to hoard immense piles of cash, which would keep that money from circulating in the economy, which would be a bad thing for the average person.

Re:The alternative? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005241)

Wrong. That's what dividends and stock buybacks are for.

And hardware companies need money to buy resources (equipment, components, etc). Then there is litigation, hiring more people, building new HQs, etc.
There is no need to buy every company there is. That is called diversification and is a dangerous game. It leads you astray, removes your focus, makes you less flexible, binds capital, stiffens your corporate culture, creates new front lines and competition and could turn allies into enemies.

OpenBSD + Truecrypt + Rip Anywhere Mp3 player (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004929)

OpenBSD + Truecrypt + Rip Anywhere Mp3 player

        ##

        Give me an MP3 player which has the following features:

        1. OpenBSD
        2. TrueCrypt - choice of encrypting all of device with 1st run and in settings
        3. Rip from any device - an extension to the device (like the front part of ST:TNG ship's dish which separates for example) which allows CDs to be inserted and ripped on the fly without a computer connection, and the ability to plug into any electronic device which has the ability to contain audio files, scan for, and rip any audio files - all with the option to convert them to a format of your choosing
        4. Complete support of as many audio/image/video codecs as possible.
        5. Nothing about the device should be proprietary, neither hardware or software.

        Before you say, "Why would you want to use a device with the MP3 format?" As #4 points out, and you should really know unless you're trolling, if you look at all of the MP3 players currently for sale, most support many audio, image (JPG and more) and sometimes several video formats.

Re: OpenBSD + Truecrypt + Rip Anywhere Mp3 player (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005045)

Why would you want to use TrueCrypt? It was obviously created by the NSA. Maybe you are a NSA shill?

'Anti-Propaganda' Ban Repealed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004935)

'Anti-Propaganda' Ban Repealed, Freeing State Dept. To Direct Its Broadcasting Arm At American Citizens

        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130715/11210223804/anti-propaganda-ban-repealed-freeing-state-dept-to-direct-its-broadcasting-arm-american-citizens.shtml [techdirt.com]

              For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.

Government & Stealth Malware (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004941)

Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care - Government & Stealth Malware

#

In Response To Slashdot Article: Former Pentagon Analyst: China Has Backdoors To 80% of Telecoms

(The reader should know this article was written and distributed prior to the "badBIOS" revelations.)

How many rootkits does the US[2] use officially or unofficially?

How much of the free but proprietary software in the US spies on you?

Which software would that be?

Visit any of the top freeware sites in the US, count the number of thousands or millions of downloads of free but proprietary software, much of it works, again on a proprietary Operating System, with files stored or in transit.

How many free but proprietary programs have you downloaded and scanned entire hard drives, flash drives, and other media? Do you realize you are giving these types of proprietary programs complete access to all of your computer's files on the basis of faith alone?

If you are an atheist, the comparison is that you believe in code you cannot see to detect and contain malware on the basis of faith! So you do believe in something invisible to you, don't you?

I'm now going to touch on a subject most anti-malware, commercial or free, developers will DELETE on most of their forums or mailing lists:

APT malware infecting and remaining in BIOS, on PCI and AGP devices, in firmware, your router (many routers are forced to place backdoors in their firmware for their government) your NIC, and many other devices.

Where are the commercial or free anti-malware organizations and individual's products which hash and compare in the cloud and scan for malware for these vectors? If you post on mailing lists or forums of most anti-malware organizations about this threat, one of the following actions will apply: your post will be deleted and/or moved to a hard to find or 'deleted/junk posts' forum section, someone or a team of individuals will mock you in various forms 'tin foil hat', 'conspiracy nut', and my favorite, 'where is the proof of these infections?' One only needs to search Google for these threats and they will open your malware world view to a much larger arena of malware on devices not scanned/supported by the scanners from these freeware sites. This point assumed you're using the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS. Now, let's move on to Linux.

The rootkit scanners for Linux are few and poor. If you're lucky, you'll know how to use chkrootkit (but you can use strings and other tools for analysis) and show the strings of binaries on your installation, but the results are dependent on your capability of deciphering the output and performing further analysis with various tools or in an environment such as Remnux Linux. None of these free scanners scan the earlier mentioned areas of your PC, either! Nor do they detect many of the hundreds of trojans and rootkits easily available on popular websites and the dark/deep web.

Compromised defenders of Linux will look down their nose at you (unless they are into reverse engineering malware/bad binaries, Google for this and Linux and begin a valuable education!) and respond with a similar tone, if they don't call you a noob or point to verifying/downloading packages in a signed repo/original/secure source or checking hashes, they will jump to conspiracy type labels, ignore you, lock and/or shuffle the thread, or otherwise lead you astray from learning how to examine bad binaries. The world of Linux is funny in this way, and I've been a part of it for many years. The majority of Linux users, like the Windows users, will go out of their way to lead you and say anything other than pointing you to information readily available on detailed binary file analysis.

Don't let them get you down, the information is plenty and out there, some from some well known publishers of Linux/Unix books. Search, learn, and share the information on detecting and picking through bad binaries. But this still will not touch the void of the APT malware described above which will survive any wipe of r/w media. I'm convinced, on both *nix and Windows, these pieces of APT malware are government in origin. Maybe not from the US, but most of the 'curious' malware I've come across in poisoned binaries, were written by someone with a good knowledge in English, some, I found, functioned similar to the now well known Flame malware. From my experience, either many forum/mailing list mods and malware developers/defenders are 'on the take', compromised themselves, and/or working for a government entity.

Search enough, and you'll arrive at some lone individuals who cry out their system is compromised and nothing in their attempts can shake it of some 'strange infection'. These posts receive the same behavior as I said above, but often they are lone posts which receive no answer at all, AT ALL! While other posts are quickly and kindly replied to and the 'strange infection' posts are left to age and end up in a lost pile of old threads.

If you're persistent, the usual challenge is to, "prove it or STFU" and if the thread is not attacked or locked/shuffled and you're lucky to reference some actual data, they will usually attack or ridicule you and further drive the discussion away from actual proof of APT infections.

The market is ripe for an ambitious company or individual to begin demanding companies and organizations who release firmware and design hardware to release signed and hashed packages and pour this information into the cloud, so everyone's BIOS is checked, all firmware on routers, NICs, and other devices are checked, and malware identified and knowledge reported and shared openly.

But even this will do nothing to stop backdoored firmware (often on commercial routers and other networked devices of real importance for government use - which again opens the possibility of hackers discovering these backdoors) people continue to use instead of refusing to buy hardware with proprietary firmware/software.

Many people will say, "the only safe computer is the one disconnected from any network, wireless, wired, LAN, internet, intranet" but I have seen and you can search yourself for and read about satellite, RF, temperature, TEMPEST (is it illegal in your part of the world to SHIELD your system against some of these APT attacks, especially TEMPEST? And no, it's not simply a CRT issue), power line and many other attacks which can and do strike computers which have no active network connection, some which have never had any network connection. Some individuals have complained they receive APT attacks throughout their disconnected systems and they are ridiculed and labeled as a nutter. The information exists, some people have gone so far as to scream from the rooftops online about it, but they are nutters who must have some serious problems and this technology with our systems could not be possible.

I believe most modern computer hardware is more powerful than many of us imagine, and a lot of these systems swept from above via satellite and other attacks. Some exploits take advantage of packet radio and some of your proprietary hardware. Some exploits piggyback and unless you really know what you're doing, and even then... you won't notice it.

Back to the Windows users, a lot of them will dismiss any strange activity to, "that's just Windows!" and ignore it or format again and again only to see the same APT infected activity continue. Using older versions of sysinternals, I've observed very bizarre behavior on a few non networked systems, a mysterious chat program running which doesn't exist on the system, all communication methods monitored (bluetooth, your hard/software modems, and more), disk mirroring software running[1], scans running on different but specific file types, command line versions of popular Windows freeware installed on the system rather than the use of the graphical component, and more.

[1] In one anonymous post on pastebin, claiming to be from an intel org, it blasted the group Anonymous, with a bunch of threats and information, including that their systems are all mirrored in some remote location anyway.

[2] Or other government, US used in this case due to the article source and speculation vs. China. This is not to defend China, which is one messed up hell hole on several levels and we all need to push for human rights and freedom for China's people. For other, freer countries, however, the concentration camps exist but you would not notice them, they originate from media, mostly your TV, and you don't even know it. As George Carlin railed about "Our Owners", "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

[3] http://www.stallman.org/ [stallman.org]

Try this yourself on a wide variety of internet forums and mailing lists, push for malware scanners to scan more than files, but firmware/BIOS. See what happens, I can guarantee it won't be pleasant, especially with APT cases.

So scan away, or blissfully ignore it, but we need more people like RMS[3] in the world. Such individuals tend to be eccentric but their words ring true and clear about electronics and freedom.

I believe we're mostly pwned, whether we would like to admit it or not, blind and pwned, yet fiercely holding to misinformation, often due to lack of self discovery and education, and "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

##

Schneier has covered it before: power line fluctuations (differences on the wire in keys pressed).

There's thermal attacks against cpus and temp, also:

ENF (google it)

A treat (ENF Collector in Java):

sourceforge dot net fwdslash projects fwdslash nfienfcollector

No single antimalware scanner exists which offers the ability to scan (mostly proprietary) firmware on AGP/PCI devices (sound cards, graphics cards, usb novelty devices excluding thumb drives), BIOS/CMOS.

If you boot into ultimate boot cd you can use an archane text interface to dump BIOS/CMOS and examine/checksum.

The real attacks which survive disk formats and wipes target your PCI devices and any firmware which may be altered/overwritten with something special. It is not enough to scan your hard drive(s) and thumb drives, the real dangers with teeth infect your hardware devices.

When is the last time you:

Audited your sound card for malware?
Audited your graphics card for malware?
Audited your network card for malware?

Google for:

* AGP and PCI rootkit(s)
* Network card rootkit(s)
* BIOS/CMOS rootkit(s)

Our modern PC hardware is capable of much more than many can imagine.

Do you:

        Know your router's firmware may easily be replaced on a hacker's whim?
        Shield all cables against leakage and attacks
        Still use an old CRT monitor and beg for TEMPEST attacks?
        Use TEMPEST resistant fonts in all of your applications including your OS?
        Know whether or not your wired keyboard has keypresses encrypted as they pass to your PC from the keyboard?
        Use your PC on the grid and expose yourself to possible keypress attacks?
        Know your network card is VERY exploitable when plugged into the net and attacked by a hard core blackhat or any vicious geek with the know how?
        Sarch out informative papers on these subjects and educate your friends and family about these attacks?
        Contact antimalware companies and urge them to protect against many or all these attacks?

Do you trust your neighbors? Are they all really stupid when it comes to computing or is there a geek or two without a conscience looking to exploit these areas?

The overlooked threat are the potential civilian rogues stationed around you, especially in large apartment blocks who feed on unsecured wifi to do their dirty work.

With the recent news of Russian spies, whether or not this news was real or a psyop, educate yourself on the present threats which all antimalware scanners fail to protect against and remove any smug mask you may wear, be it Linux or OpenBSD, or the proprietary Windows and Mac OS you feel are properly secured and not vulnerable to any outside attacks because you either don't need an antivirus scanner (all are inept to serious attacks) or use one or several (many being proprietary mystery machines sending data to and from your machine for many reasons, one is to share your information with a group or set database to help aid in threats), the threats often come in mysterious ways.

Maybe the ancients had it right: stone tablets and their own unique language(s) rooted in symbolism.

#

I'm more concerned about new rootkits which target PCI devices, such as the graphics card and the optical drives, also, BIOS. Where are the malware scanners which scan PCI devices and BIOS for mismatches? All firmware, BIOS and on PCI devices should be checksummed and saved to match with others in the cloud, and archived when the computer is first used, backing up signed firmware.

When do you recall seeing signed router firmware upgrades with any type of checksum to check against? Same for PCI devices and optical drives and BIOS.

Some have begun with BIOS security:

http://www.biosbits.org/ [biosbits.org]

Some BIOS has write protection in its configuration, a lot of newer computers don't.

#

"Disconnect your PC from the internet and don't add anything you didn't create yourself. It worked for the NOC list machine in Mission Impossible"

The room/structure was likely heavily shielded, whereas most civvies don't shield their house and computer rooms. There is more than meets the eye to modern hardware.

Google:

subversion hack:
tagmeme(dot)com/subhack/
(This domain expired and has been replaced by different content. Please visit Archive.org - The Wayback Machine and dig for previous versions of original content)

network card rootkits and trojans
pci rootkits
packet radio
xmit "fm fingerprinting" software
"specific emitter identification"
forums(dot)qrz(dot)com

how many malware scanners scan bios/cmos and pci/agp cards for malware? zero, even the rootkit scanners. have you checksummed/dumped your bios/cmos and firmware for all your pci/agp devices and usb devices, esp vanity usb devices in and outside the realm of common usb devices (thumbdrives, external hdds, printers),

Unless your computer room is shielded properly, the computers may still be attacked and used, I've personally inspected computers with no network connection running mysterious code in the background which task manager for windows and the eqiv for *nix does not find, and this didn't find it all.

Inspect your windows boot partition in *nix with hexdump and look for proxy packages mentioned along with command line burning programs and other oddities. Computers are more vulnerable than most would expect.

You can bet all of the malware scanners today, unless they are developed by some lone indy coder in a remote country, employ whitelisting of certain malware and none of them scan HARDWARE devices apart from the common usb devices.

Your network cards, sound cards, cd/dvd drives, graphics cards, all are capable of carrying malware to survive disk formatting/wiping.

Boot from a Linux live cd and use hexdump to examine your windows (and *nix) boot sectors to potentially discover interesting modifications by an unknown party.

#
eof

MindFuck - They'll do it, believe me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004949)

there will be no revolt
there will be no resistance
they are moving us to a future where
implanted chips will be the norm
they will read and record our thoughts
and perhaps they will physically move us, too
and since they're working on removing memories
we won't remember what happened when they 'moved' us.

even the bible says there will come a time when people
will seek death but won't be able to find it ...
because THEY won't let you.

It's all downhill, folks, they want your brain
without enlisting in any force
and they will take us by force
yesterday the chip in the head people were crazies
now we have the reality, they just have to introduce it

they will seduce us into this electronic tattoo, pill swallow and monitor health, implantable chip and even stronger, more hideous technology in the name of many things, safety, health, entertainment, g00g1e gl4ss is the beginning. Soon they will say, "WHY AREN'T YOU WEARING ONE?" and you'll be forced to wear one like good old Wesley Crusher was.

freedom - it was good while it lasted.

Diverting attention from the real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46004973)

Carriers.
Telcos and CableCos.
Now get off your ass and deal with that mess.

Too big? (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about 3 months ago | (#46005001)

Who gets to define that? In a free market ( which no one in the world has one in reality.. some countries are closer than others, but none are true free-market ) the market should get to decide, not some dude writing a column.

and like every other large american company... (2)

riis138 (3020505) | about 3 months ago | (#46005023)

They will grow far to large and bloated, people will call from them to be broken up, and the anti-trust lawsuits will follow. It seems to be a vicious cycle that every large American tech company goes through. In 20 years time we will start seeing the articles "How Google lost its mojo" and "Google strives to get back on top". Its inevitable.

Re:and like every other large american company... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 3 months ago | (#46005107)

It seems to be a vicious cycle that every large American tech company goes through.

IBM and Microsoft in their heydays, sure. Who else? I don't recall serious calls for the breakup of, say, Oracle or Apple, however much people may complain (often quite justifiably) about some of their business practices.

Re:and like every other large american company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005493)

It's a cycle that any monopoly-extending company goes through. That is, any firm that the law perceives uses its dominance in one market to force entry into another.

There were calls in the EU (which has mildly stronger monopoly policy) for bits of Oracle to be sold off when they acquired MySQL, as I recall.

Apple hasn't (quite) done that, because they certainly didn't use any monopoly to force their way into music. It's entirely possible that some action in the near future that is too tied to their existing products might do just that though.

Never about search (-1, Troll)

Orne (144925) | about 3 months ago | (#46005083)

The Google search engine was a byproduct of their want to serve advertisements to web browsing users (customers), and to provide better metrics to their clients (advertisers) so they could command higher rates. Once you see that, things like home automation, tracking energy usage, travel choices, etc are all means to an end of understanding what the user wants/needs then putting the best advertisement in front of the viewer.

Anymore, the only real dimension ... (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 3 months ago | (#46005143)

... that separates large governments and mega-corporations is intent. As events continue to demonstrate, neither's intent is benign, so it's kind of a toss up as to who is the bigger, badder brother.

big brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005193)

Big brother is not a crazed dictator but a guy who just wants to sell you something.

In My Humble Opinion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005207)

Google have violated the tenet of doing one thing well. I can see how advertising and search are bedfellows, but the rest of it? Really?
As an old-school Unix chap, I still firmly believe that a program or entity should do one thing well. Let's face it, I wouldn't call round Noble Romans for a hamburger, I'd go for a pizza. I don't go down the pub for a massage, I go for a pint.
This "many irons in the fire" approach lends itself to doing nothing particularly well. Full stop.

Re:In My Humble Opinion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005563)

I'm glad that Google do more than one thing. They don't just do search well. They do email and maps very well. They make a good browser. They make a pretty important mobile operating system. Those products, now at the absolute core of our digital world, were all once announced as "neato" projects that once left analysts wondering what's in it for Google. Another way to think of Google's mission is that they do just produce one thing, which is highly targeted ads. Their products all either 1. serve as delivery vectors for the ads, or 2. collect information that improve ad targeting. I guess that some Google products have the function of keeping users inside the Google sandbox, and as long as they remain, they're stuck with products that do 1. and 2. And because there are many diverse ways of accomplishing 1. and 2., Google seems like a very diversified company.

rofl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005229)

Oh big deal. Search engines come and go. I have used Altavista for years. Nowdays I use Goggle, who knows what will I use next year lol..... doomsayers...

Nonsense, I have 3 words for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005231)

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, aka 3M, and last time I checked they do more than just dig dirt these days.

The world is going to end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005233)

because a company is too big.

Really? What are we all just apocalypse fanatics or something? How about we just calm down and live life as humans? Stop being afraid of the dark and enjoy your life.

-AC

And most of what they touch they kill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46005323)

six months later, after making it unusable by forcibly linking it with all their spyware.

Wrong. (3, Funny)

tpstigers (1075021) | about 3 months ago | (#46005501)

Google has always been in the data business. Putting sensors into our homes fits perfectly into that business model.
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