Trump resolves his ignorance of security, intelligence, by firing folks trying to educate him

❝ United States Secret Service director Randolph “Tex” Alles is being removed from his position, multiple administration officials tell CNN.

President Donald Trump instructed his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to fire Alles. Alles remains in his position as of now but has been asked to leave…

❝ Secret Service officials have been caught by surprise with the news and are only finding out through CNN…

❝ United States Citizenship and Immigration Services director Francis Cissna and Office of the General Counsel’s John Mitnick are expected to be gone soon, and the White House is eyeing others to be removed.

If American voters recover enough common sense to toss this dolt out onto the scrap heap of stupid in 2020 – at least there will be lots of job openings for folks intersting in rebuilding a somewhat modern administration. Best time for fixing stuff is after a disaster and the Fake President surely has made that point.

Keeping Sources Secure


Birgit Püve for The New York Times

How do you keep communications with sources secure?

❝ Before moving to Europe this summer, I spent about a decade covering national security and intelligence in cities like Washington, so I’m pretty security conscious. Before I left, a friend who works in intelligence offered a gentle reminder that most countries would probably consider me fair game for intelligence collection.

So I use a cheap Chromebook when traveling to places where curious eyes might be tempted to sneak a peek. I set it up with a burner account, and I never connect it to any personal or business accounts.

And all those note-taking apps? If I’m working on something particularly sensitive or talking to someone who is sticking his neck out by meeting with me, those notes often don’t get saved digitally. When the story is done, the notebook gets tossed and that’s the end of it.

RTFA and check out what Matt uses/does when he’s not in Total Invasive Security Fear Mode.

Facebook PR Campaign says “Your info is safe, now” — WRONG!!

The Cambridge Analytica scandal exposed what wasn’t really a secret, that Facebook is harvesting a lot of user data and that the data is shared with others. The privacy breach revealed that Facebook wasn’t doing enough to protect your privacy and that developers like Cambridge Analytica could take your data and your Facebook friends’ data and use it for whatever they wanted.

Since these revelations, Facebook has been trying to convince everyone that it can be trusted, that it will take measures to stop these practices, that your privacy matters to the company. But while it was performing this massive PR campaign, a different quiz app that had as many as 120 million users left their data exposed for others to see. Facebook was warned about it and needed many weeks to address and fix it properly.

Depending on what quizzes you took, the javascript could leak your Facebook ID, first name, last name, language, gender, date of birth, profile picture, cover photo, currency, devices you use, when your information was last updated, your posts and statuses, your photos and your friends.

RTFA originally published by the hacker who revealed the privacy breach.

For $1,000, anyone can track your location and app use


Begin and end a morning commute. Red dots = standing still over 4 minutes.

❝ Privacy concerns have long swirled around how much information online advertising networks collect about people’s browsing, buying and social media habits — typically to sell you something.

But could someone use mobile advertising to learn where you go for coffee? Could a burglar establish a sham company and send ads to your phone to learn when you leave the house? Could a suspicious employer see if you’re using shopping apps on work time?

❝ The answer is yes, at least in theory. New University of Washington research, which will be presented Oct. 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, suggests that for roughly $1,000, someone with devious intent can purchase and target online advertising in ways that allow them to track the location of other individuals and learn what apps they are using…

❝ “Because it was so easy to do what we did, we believe this is an issue that the online advertising industry needs to be thinking about,” said co-author Franzi Roesner, co-director of the UW Security and Privacy Research Lab… “We are sharing our discoveries so that advertising networks can try to detect and mitigate these types of attacks, and so that there can be a broad public discussion about how we as a society might try to prevent them.”

Mail me a penny postcard when the advertising industry and our plastic, fantastic lawmakers take this seriously.

IRS Hands Equifax $7.25 Million No-Bid Contract to Help “Verify Taxpayer Identities”

❝ With no apparent sense of irony, the nation’s tax collectors have awarded embattled credit-reporting agency Equifax a contract to assist the IRS in verifying “taxpayer identities” as well as assist in “ongoing identity verification and validations,” according to contract award posted to the Federal Business Opportunities database.

The no-bid contract, which pays $7.25 million, is listed as a “sole source” acquisition, meaning the IRS has determined Equifax is the only business capable of providing this service — despite its involvement in potentially one of the most damaging data breaches in recent memory…

❝ Equifax, of course, is facing intense criticism over a cybersecurity incident which reportedly compromised the personal information of roughly 145 million Americans. The company’s former CEO, Richard Smith, was taken to task on Tuesday while testifying before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Smith resigned last week amid backlash over the company’s handling of the breach.

Republicans and Democrats alike lambasted the former chief executive over Equifax’s response. Representative Greg Walden was perhaps the harshest in his criticism: “I don’t think we can pass a law that fixes stupid…”

Not a case I would say of “The blind leading the blind” — more like “Stupid leading the incompetent”.

Ad industry whines Apple Safari update is against tracking

❝ Six ad industry organizations have crafted an open letter complaining about changes coming to Apple’s Safari browser, claiming that a new feature — “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” — will hurt both them — and the public.

Har!

❝ The technology’s restrictions on cookies blah, blah, blah!…Some of the groups behind the statement include the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the American Advertising Federation, and the Data and Marketing Association…

❝ Intelligent Tracking Prevention will be present in both iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, launching Sept. 19 and 25, respectively. Apple has argued for the technology as an essential privacy measure, since people may not want their data captured for purposes they don’t consent to.

NSS. Mail me a penny postcard when someone discovers an honest and legitimate concern for public interests somewhere hidden in the bowels of ad agencies.

U.S. Military Marches Toward Energy Independence


Hill AFBOfficial White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

The U.S. is at a transformative moment in electricity. And the military is helping us move toward a new era of independence.

❝ The U.S. electrical grid was ranked by the National Academy of Engineering as the greatest achievement of the 20th century, and it was this vast infrastructure that helped to power our economy, enhance our communities and light up our lives. But the centralized power grid is not perfect, and it faces an array of risks from natural disasters to human and cyber attacks.

As electricity becomes more and more critical in our lives, wide-ranging blackouts won’t just be a personal annoyance — they could cripple our economy. A diversified energy portfolio that includes renewable generation creates a more resilient grid. A recent draft of a report from the Department of Energy also concluded that wind and solar energy create a more reliable grid.

❝ The added security provided by renewables is why everyone — from the military to Fortune 100 companies — is finding ways to use clean reliable distributed power systems to support their operations.

RTFA to learn how this understanding makes sense. Moving forward.

BS’er-in-Chief

No comment about the latest legal/political problems faced by our phony president. Pick your favorite news source among the many evidence-based, fact-based, journalists. Obviously, that leaves out Trump favorites; but, then, that never bothered anyone fool enough to vote for him.

Thanks, gocomics.org

Sleaze follows Trump like stink around road kill

❝ The U.S. Secret Service is the hot, new “amenity” at Trump Tower, where desperate brokers are trying to lure well-heeled clients into the building on Fifth Avenue that has served as President-elect Donald Trump’s home as well as his campaign and transition headquarters.

Less than a week after Trump was elected, prominent New York real estate agency Douglas Elliman blasted out an email with the subject: “Fifth Avenue Buyers Interested in Secret Service Protection?” to advertise a $2.1 million, 1,052-square-foot condo in the tower on 721 Fifth Avenue…

“The Best Value in the Most Secure Building in Manhattan,” it stated.

❝ Trump was the developer and sponsor of Trump Tower when it was built 33 years ago, but most of the 263 units are individually owned. Trump Tower does not retain a portion of the sales but since the building is managed by Trump Corporation, it retains a processing fee for unit sales which is about $2,000 per application plus $250 per additional adult dweller, as part of its service as manager of the building.

The condominium collects the common charge, but Trump manages the garage and vendors like the bar and restaurant in the building…

Not exactly a plus for the reputation of realtors, eh?

Teen busted trying hire a clown to assassinate her teacher

❝ Police in Virginia have arrested a 13-year-old girl in connection with a social media threat involving a clown.

The investigation revealed that the girl made contact with someone via social media, and asked the person to murder one of her teachers at Davis Middle School…

The person she contacted was using a clown photo as a profile picture as well as an alias.

❝ The 13-year-old girl from Hampton was arrested and charged with one count of threatening to kill by electronic message. She remains in custody.

❝ Hampton police detectives made contact with the victim to ensure her safety and make her aware of the situation. At this time, there is no evidence to indicate a threat against any others.

There was increased police presence Monday at Davis Middle School and Hampton police officers are working with school security to ensure student safety.

❝ This incident comes just two days after schools in Hampton and Newport News tightened security because of threats from social media accounts of people posing as clowns…

The Hampton Police Division is collaborating with Hampton City Schools, the Newport News Police Division, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate each of these threats and social media pages.

None of the security hustlers are going to miss out on an opportunity to increase fun and profits from fear. I’m surprised the NRA hasn’t shown up selling handguns outside the school. Yet.