Weekly Axis Of Easy #143
Last Week’s Quote was “To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men.” Was Ella Wilcox, winner was Christian Smith
This Week’s Quote: “There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors” …by ????
THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted to the blog.
The Prize: First person to post the correct answer gets their next domain or hosting renewal on us.
We have launched AxisOfEasy.com ! Today’s edition will be posted there and mirrored on easyDNS. Please help us get the word out and tell your friends and colleagues to check out the new website portal and subscribe to our various tendrils there.
In this issue:
- Florida Man attempts Coronavirus domain speculation, hilarity ensues
- NYC mayor encourages citizens to report quarantine breakers, hilarity ensues
- Mega major iPhone security flaw discovered in email app. Hilarity does not ensue
- Tony Blair Institute: state surveillance is price worth paying amid pandemic
- Foxit PDF reader vulnerable to remote execution attack
- WHO, Gates Foundation password hack was just old credit dump data
- Court approves Facebook’s FTC settlement but says laws need updating
- Twitter and Youtube Deplatform publicly traded UV biotech co after Trump remarks
- YouTube Deplatforms California doctors who criticize lockdown policy in viral video
- The Axis of Easy Salon #1: Jesse Hirsh, Charles Hugh Smith and Mark discuss events
I started hearing rumblings about a massive “re-open America” themed astroturfing campaign via Krebs On Security who posited the question “Who is behind the Re-open Domain Surge?” Somebody or someone was behind a rash of “re-open” and “liberate” themed domain names in the face of protests in the US to restart the economy. It didn’t take long for it to be deemed some nefarious and yuge astroturfing campaign, Krebs himself opining “it’s reminiscent of the playbook used by Russia to sow discord”.
<eyeroll> Uh huh. </eyeroll>
Turns out it was just some dumbass in Florida (your proverbial “Florida Man”) with a long history of harebrained get-rich-quick schemes who went on a two day binge registering those “reopen” themed domains thinking he could resell them for big bucks.
Newflash: The days of being able to hand-register domains and resell them for $9,000/each (the figure this guy had in his head, multiplied by 203, the number of domains he regged), ended sometime prior to 2006. Instead, he came under the ire of the internet, receiving death threats and other unwanted attention, and will likely henceforth be remembered, or suspected to be, a Kremlin stooge.
NYC mayor encourages citizens to report quarantine breakers, hilarity ensues
As we reported last week, NYC mayor Bill Deblasio is urging his fellow New Yorkers, to report their fellow New Yorkers who are breaking quarantine rules, to the authorities:
“Snap a photo of an offending person or crowd, set the location on the image, and text it to 311-692. Action will ensue”
You’ll never believe what happened next. Instead of reporting each other to the authorities, residents of Gotham inundated the number with dick pics, profanity laden texts and Hitler memes.
In a weird way, it kind of restores my faith in humanity.
A former IDF cybersecurity specialist, now working at San Francisco-based mobile security forensics company called ZecOps had discovered a critical flaw in the iOS email app that may have been actively exploited in the wild for years. ZecOps CEO Zuk Avraham found the bug while investigating a hacking incident against one of the firm’s clients that took place in 2019. He published his findings last Monday (April 20).
The hack works by sending a carefully crafted email which causes the mail app to crash, but leaves the device open to having other data exfiltrated. The vulnerability has existed since at least iOS 6 (2012) which earliest known attacks being in 2018.
Apple has acknowledged the report, but is not commenting on it. They are planning to roll out an update.
The BBC reports how the Tony Blair Institute, a think tank founded by former UK PM Tony “Thar be WMDs in Iraq!” Blair, has come to the conclusion that pervasive and ubiquitous state surveillance into the lives of its subjects is an acceptable price to pay in order to “escape” (escape what exactly?) the pandemic.
“the Institute argues the public must accept a level of intrusion that would normally ‘be out of the question in liberal democracies’”
However, privacy advocates argue that there are myriad policy options available, with more preferable ones that uphold the public’s right to privacy such as this Open Rights Group briefing warning that
“The Government is running significant risks to trust and policy delivery by failing to communicate its approach to data and privacy. It has failed to explain a number of decisions, from the use of aggregated mobile data to procuring services from Palantir, and failing to explain its coming approach to data hungry projects.
The use of personal data could be critical to lifting lockdown through ‘contact tracing’ and ‘immunity passports’ These tasks can be done with privacy-friendly technologies, or invasive tools.”
The TBI report itself tells us: “Health System Overwhelmed”, “Economy Shut Down”, “Increased Surveillance, countries can only avoid two of these outcomes”. The implication being, of course, that anybody in their right might would pick “INCREASED SURVEILLANCE” as the one, unavoidable outcome that would be most desirable.
The report even provides an easy, 1-click astro-turfer for you to endorse this idea and tweet it to the world:
Foxit Reader is a popular free PDF reader with over 500 million users, mainly on Windows, while Foxit’s Phantom PDF is a utility suite that lets you convert various files into PDFs. Both affected by a cluster of 20 critical vulnerabilities, some of which can lead to Remote Code Execution (RCE) on Windows machines.
Foxit has issued patches for both utilities, so if you are using either one, make sure that you upgrade both to their respective versions 9.7.2.
The Twitters erupted briefly last week when passwords from the World Health Organization, The Gates Foundation and the Wuhan Lab were allegedly hacked and dumped on 4chan. This looks to be non-news to me, as the screen grabs I saw were basically the same passwords that have been available for years in previous cred dumps. In particular, I found nearly the identical set of Gates Foundation passwords in the Domainsure leaks database which we use to to check client exposures.
The story goes that some of these leaked credentials were still active on some platforms and hackers on 4chan claimed to have used them to access at least one extranet. That may be true, people do tend to reuse their passwords and not change them.
A US federal judge has approved a settlement between the Federal Trade Commission and Facebook over the latter’s (alleged) violations of the 2012 consent decree and FTC Act. The approval was granted over objections in the form of an Amicus brief filed by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC),
“The court called Facebook’s alleged conduct “stunning,” “unscrupulous,” “shocking,” and “underhanded,””
Despite not blocking the settlement the judge did acknowledge the gravity of EPICs filing and noted that it does “call into question the adequacy of laws governing how technology companies that collect and monetize Americans’ personal information”.
Disclaimer: I don’t watch TV, or the MSM news, and so I have never really seen any Trump speech in its entirety. I don’t know if he really did recommend people drink bleach or swab their innards out with Lysol. It wouldn’t surprise me. Politicians say the darnedest things. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if the MSM dumbed whatever he did say down into the most ridiculous and absurd translation possible and then amplified the hell out of it. Almost seems more likely to me.
Nonetheless, in the usual media fracas that ensued over whatever he did say, collateral damage ensued when Twitter, and Youtube in their never-ending errand to protect the world from “Coronavirus conspiracy theories” deplatformed a publicly traded biotech company that really actually was working on a type of UV treatment via intubation.
Atyu Bioscience merged with Ampio Pharmaceuticals back in 2015 and have a number of biotechnology initiatives. Most recently they’ve been developing a rapid COVID-19 test kit and also looking at using UV to treat Coronavirus patients, citing a proof-of-concept paper dating from October 2019.
At the time of writing it appears as though the benevolent Twitter overlords re-enabled their Twitter account this morning. Not sure if the Youtube overseers have followed suit.
UV is a well known disinfectant, I’ve used Red Light Therapy on muscle injuries and infections for years. Although my mom used to remind me about the time I drank bleach as a kid, so what do I know….
On April 22nd two doctors who run a private healthcare facility in California held a press conference and spent about an hour outlining why they think continuing the lockdown has become deleterious. Note that they both agreed the public policy track originally taken was the correct thing to do and that had they been in that position, they would have done the same.
They then proceeded to outline the downside to the lockdown, including: increased incidence of spousal abuse, child abuse, depression, increased alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide. They made the assertion that they believe Coronavirus is much more prevalent in the population than we think, and if true, it means the fatality rate would be lower than original models. They also encouraged widespread testing before re-opening the economy, but to reopen the economy nonetheless.
The video went viral. Over 5 million views in 5 days and climbing steadily. It hit a nerve. I was going to mention the video in this issue of AxisOfEasy, in a postscript above, but I took it out after I posted it on my Facebook timeline and it came under a lot of hostility (albeit from a vocal minority of commenters, none of which actually viewed the video itself and have first hand knowledge of what they were dismissing as “bad science”).
This morning I woke up to the news that the Politburo (Google division), has removed the video for violation of its code of conduct.
This is basically a thought crime. The doctors in question did not advocate civil disobedience or breaking quarantine, they did not say Coronavirus was caused by 5G or cooked up in a lab in Wuhan. They didn’t tell people to drink bleach and they didn’t say Bill Gates is out to implant us all with microchips.
They criticized a public policy, they also shed light on some troubling aspects of it (they also recounted how doctors are being pressured to add COVID-19 to cause of death certificates), and they recommended an alternate path (one that included “testing everybody”, btw).
I knew this would happen, so the first thing I did when I watched it (in its entirety), is I downloaded a copy. We’re making it available via AxisOfEasy here.
I won’t hear any criticism of this from anybody who hasn’t watched the video and heard what they’ve had to say. Then I’m all ears. If you can’t spare an hour of your time to hear them out, then you don’t have any claim to an opinion on it one way or the other.
The Axis of Easy Salon #1: Jesse Hirsh, Charles Hugh Smith and Mark discuss events
On the newly launched AxisOfEasy.com we finally got our initial group podcast up with Charles Hugh Smith, Jesse Hirsh and myself discussing the events of the day. We touched on the phenomenon of “hypernormalisation” (where everybody pretends the absurd is real because they can’t fathom any alternatives), the underlying brittleness of the economy and why it’s cracking up so fast, and the crisis of legitimacy in our institutions and leaders.
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Also, last week I gave out the URL to download my latest book Unassailable: Protect Yourself from Deplatform Attacks and Cancel Culture for free, I realize now that the BookFunnel link forced you to opt-in to this mailing list, which if you were reading this, you were already on. Sorry about that, if you still want the ebook version of Unassailable, I also put it up on the website here.