#AxisOfEasy 198: Ransomware Hits World’s Largest Meat Packer



Weekly Axis Of Easy #198

Last Week’s Quote was   “You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.”  …somebody guessed Warren Buffet, which was close, but it was his mentor, Benjamin Graham.

This Week’s Quote:  “As information and voice amplification become the new symbols of power, those who would assume control of society have moved to hoard voice amplification and control the message received by the public in new ways”… by???

THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted to the blog – the place to post the answer is at the bottom of the post, in the comments section.

The Prize: First person to post the correct answer gets their next domain or hosting renewal is on us.


In this issue:
  • Ransomware hits world’s largest meat packer
  • Trudeau government reviving Bell’s “Fair Play” site blocking
  • CTRC issues wholesale broadband decision that everybody hates
  • Canada Post hit with supplier ransomware
  • Japanese government agencies hit via Fujitsu hack
  • Facebook no longer censoring lab origin post while MSM in CYA-mode
  • Will Facebook’s Diem become Fedcoin by default?
  • UN Report on kamikaze terminator drones    
  • Amazon Prime is an economy distorting monopoly
  • Microsoft President: 2024 will look like Orwell’s 1984
  • easyVPS is coming soon
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Ransomware hits world’s largest meat packer

Breaking news this afternoon is that Brazil-based JBS SA, the world’s largest meat packer with operations in North America and Australia has had to shut down its facilities in the wake of a ransomware attack.

It started Monday with systems in Australia being shut down, including all slaughter house production lines and spread to US plants today. Last count I’ve seen is 10 meat packing plants across the US are now offline, accounting for 1/5th of US production capacity.

This is expected to put pressure on food supply chains as the Northern summer hits. China is also said to be a major importer.

JBS informed US authorities of a ransomware demand recieved “from Russia,” so while every mainstream outlet is running with the “Russian cyber-attack” motif, we’ll point out here that “from Russia” could simply mean that a ransomware extortion email was received from a throw-away account on mail.ru.

Read: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/06/01/suspected-russian-cyberattack-wipes-out-one-fifth-of-us-beef-production-capacity-report/
Trudeau government reviving Bell’s “Fair Play” site blocking

In addition to Bill C-10 which would give Canada’s CTRC the ability to regulate the internet and require licenses from content creators, Steven Guillbeault’s idea for banning speech critical of politicians and implementing internet kill switches to do it, the Trudeau government is also reviving the failed “FairPlay” initiative which would institute site blocking.

This comes out of a consultation on copyright the government launched on April 14th, and had a suspiciously short public consultation period, it ended yesterday.

On the table: mandatory site blocking for ISPs to curtail perceived copyright violations and an end to legal protections for intermediaries (there is no formal Section 230 protections here in Canada to insulate ISPs and middlemen from liabilities but there are some precedents).

Read: https://openmedia.org/article/item/the-reboot-no-one-asked-for

And: https://action.openmedia.org/page/82897/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=vurl

(Speaking of Bill C-10, the Conservatives introduced an amendment to restore the user generated content exemptions into the bill, it failed with the Liberals, The NDP and the Bloc Québécois vomiting against (my auto-correct changed “voting” to “vomiting” and I’m just gonna leave it).

CTRC issues wholesale broadband decision that everybody hates

Also Canada, the CRTC, the same body the Federal government wants regulating the Internet, issued a decision last week on broadband pricing that is said to reduce competition and will raise prices across the board.

An earlier 2019 decision found that wholesale broadband rates were excessively high and made the decision retroactive, so that incumbents would have to reimburse their downstream resellers. The incumbents appealed and had the reduced rates temporarily set aside. On May 27th, the CRTC made it official, overturning the earlier decision.

Smaller independent broadband providers like Teksavvy and VMedia have already reacted to the decision, Teksavvy saying they’ll have to drop out of a broadband spectrum auction and both indies calling for the removal of CRTC chair Ian Scott, a former Telus VP.

Read: https://www.michaelgeist.ca/2021/05/this-is-who-the-canadian-government-wants-to-regulate-the-internet/

And: https://mobilesyrup.com/2021/05/29/teksavvy-vmedia-remove-crtc-chairperson-ian-scott/

Canada Post hit with supplier ransomware

We’ll round out the Canuck news with a piece on Canada Post who announced that they had experienced a data breach via one of their suppliers being hit with ransomware. The breach impacts 44 large commercial customers and the breach includes shipping data, name and address.

The attack was executed by the Lorenz Group ransomware gang who breached Commport Communications and exfiltrated over 35 GB of data. At first Commport said they didn’t believe that had been breached… and then Lorenz posted the data to their website.

Impacted agencies include Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, the Council of Experts, the Narita International Airport and Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/canada-post-hit-by-data-breach-after-supplier-ransomware-attack/

Japanese government agencies hit via Fujitsu hack

Following on this theme, several government agencies in Japan have also been hit via a supply chain attack on one of their vendors. In this case it was Fujitsu, who were hit via their ProjectWEB information sharing tool.

It’s still not know what the exact attack vector was, but so far we know about 76,000 email addresses have been leaked and that the attackers had gained unauthorized access to projects that used the ProjectWEB tool.

Read: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/japanese-government-agencies-suffer-data-breaches-after-fujitsu-hack/

Facebook no longer censoring lab origin post while MSM in CYA-mode 

The mainstream media is in full ass-covering mode as still more sources and papers surface pointing toward a possible lab leak for the origin of COVID-19, something the media dismissed too early and without evidence as being “debunked conspiracy theory.”

While one twitter thread is cataloguing before/after shots of media coverage, Facebook announced via a statement to CNN (that other bastion of accurate reporting):

“In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of Covid-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that Covid-19 is man-made from our apps.”

It begs the obvious question of what business does a special media platform have arbitrating the narrative? Why is the media deciding in advance what is debunked and what isn’t ahead of all the facts? Why is something out of scope for consideration if Trump said it but back inside the Overton Window if the same idea arises some place else?

As we were headed to press it looks like Washington Post has also quietly walked back their “this is debunked” pronouncements on an earlier story. It also turns out that one of the experts widely cited by the media as having debunked the theory is actually a proponent of it. His remarks were just heavily edited and spun by the media to conform to the narrative. Michael Tracy has a longer write up about the media completely discrediting themselves over on his substack.

Read: https://www.forbes.com/sites/petersuciu/2021/05/28/social-media-about-face-facebook-wont-remove-claims-covid-was-man-made/

Don’t worry, I’ll shut up about the lab origin story as soon as it’s permissible to talk to about Ivermectin.

Will Facebook’s Diem become Fedcoin by default?

You may recall that when Facebook tried to come out with its own crypto-currency, the US government, and other national governments, reacted viscerally to it, the US Senate going so far as to send what can only be viewed as extortion letters to members of the Libra Consortium telling them that their involvement in the Facebook effort would get them investigated for their roles in trafficking child pr0nography.

Now Facebook is relaunching Libra as Diem, a US stable coin, headquartered in the US instead of Libra’s original Switzerland. And now the silence is almost deafening. There seems to be an absence of US state hostility toward Diem. Could the reason be that with China already out of the gate with their Digital Yuan, that Facebook’s Diem may end up being “Fedcoin” by default?

Read: https://bombthrower.com/articles/could-facebooks-diem-become-fedcoin-by-default/

UN Report on kamikaze terminator drones 

Just went down a bit of a rabbit hole on this one….

Way back in AxisOfEasy 34 we reported on an IEEE piece examining the likelihood and ethics of “slaughterbots,” weaponized drones that could be used in assassinations or warfare.

Not too long after that, in AoE 61 we ran a story that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduroz had survived an assassination attempt in which he was attacked by a couple of drones outfitted with C4 explosives.

In the Maduroz assassination attempt, the drones were likely controlled and targeted by human operators. That’s bad enough. One of the scandals of the US military’s ongoing  drone assassinations program is that the targeting of individuals wasn’t entirely rigorous. As former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden once admitted, “We kill people based on metadata,” but that’s still done by humans piloting drones from cubicles on an air force base somewhere.

It gets positively chilling when drones are weaponized and released to autonomously pursue and kill their targets without human oversight. This is now beginning to happen.

A report to UN Security Council documents how the Libyan GNA (Government of National Accord, the officially recognized government at the moment) is using Turkish made autonomous aerial weapons to target Libyan National Army forces, reading between the lines the members of the latter were in retreat and were being killed by unmanned drones as they did so.

When we ran the original piece we included a short YouTube video of a fictional demonstration of an assassination drone, at the time I didn’t know what it was from. It’s from a short film called “Slaughterbots” put out by The Future of Life Institute who campaigns against the current or proposed use of autonomous weaponized drones. See their website here. The video is absolutely chilling and entirely realistic.

Jesse Hirsh also saw the same UN report come across wires and wrote up his piece about on Metaviews here.

Read: https://undocs.org/S/2021/229

And: https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/terminator-style-kamikaze-drone-hunted-down-human-targets

“Let’s watch the weapons make the decisions (trust me, those were all bad guys…)”

Amazon Prime is an economy distorting monopoly 

Matt Stoller has been covering Big Tech as it relates to monopolistic behaviour for awhile. His book Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly and Democracy shows how this is an age-old battle, possibly the defining characteristic of power struggles within society (also of interest is Confessions of a Monopolist by Fredrick Clemson Howe, originally published in 1906).

Stoller looks at a relatively unknown anti-trust suit filed by Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and it’s allegations on how Amazon’s Prime is distorting the entire market for consumer pricing. One may think Amazon Prime is convenient and a great deal, but as Stoller lays out, there really isn’t such thing as “free shipping,” and Amazon isn’t absorbing that cost and making it up in volume.

Rather, Amazon is forcing higher retail prices across all sellers and even all competing platforms. This is because of the Prime eligibility requirements: most sales come from the ubiquitous “Amazon Buy Box” in the user interface. You can’t get your product into the Buy Box unless you’re Prime eligible. You can’t be Prime eligible unless you warehouse your products with Amazon and use their fulfillment system and you can’t be eligible for Prime if you sell your product on any other platform at a lower price including your own website.

The result is that prices are forced up across the entire economy.

Read: https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/amazon-primes-free-shipping-promise

Microsoft President: 2024 will look like Orwell’s 1984

In an interview with BBC’s Panorama, Microsoft president Brad Smith warned that as China’s AI driven social credit systems race ahead, we may end up in a dystopian surveillance state à la George Orwell’s 1984 by 2024. I haven’t seen the entire segment, but he seems to be worried about the same thing I am: he fears that unless we enact some laws preventing ubiquitous AI and surveillance, because of our “AI arms race” with China we’re going to end up in the same place here.

Says Smith:

“If we don’t enact the laws that will protect the public in the future, we are going to find the technology racing ahead, and it’s going to be very difficult to catch up.”

Meanwhile, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who now heads US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence is focused singularly on beating China at AI:

“We’re in a geo-political strategic conflict with China, the way to win is to marshal our resources together to have national and global strategies for the democracies to win in AI.”

In a weird way, they may both be right.

Read: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57122120

easyVPS is coming soon

We’re pleased to announce that one of the most requested products over the last couple years is about to launch. easyVPS will be providing the ability to spin up Virtual Private Servers in a variety of Unix flavours with completely configurable CPUs, RAM, disk space, etc.

Watch this space for an announcement, we’re starting out only allowing for existing clients in good standing.

2 thoughts on “#AxisOfEasy 198: Ransomware Hits World’s Largest Meat Packer

  1. Microsoft’s president is *worried* about pervasive surveilliance? That is rich given that surveillance is baked into their OS!

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