Weekly Axis Of Easy #204
Last Week’s Quote was “The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory, is that conspiracy theorists believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth is far more frightening – Nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.” was Alan Moore, winner was Sammy Jakubowicz
This Week’s Quote: “People would rather be wrong than alone.” … 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:
- Morgan Stanley and Mint Mobile report data breaches
- Kaseya ransomware offering fake security upgrades
- 36 US states sue google over anti-trust violations
- PrintNightmare: Yet another Microsoft critical security flaw
- Twitter falls in line, will censor for India
- Canada’s C-36 “hate speech” bill provides for pre-crime, house arrest and ankle tracking bracelets
- Pentagon cancels 10B contract for Microsoft
- How Mimetic desire makes the world go round
- Cuba shuts down Internet as mass protests erupt in the streets
- White House wants social media and SMS carriers to police “misinformation” in text messages
- AxisOfEasy Salon 44: Interview with Max Borders
A sampling of the data breaches in the last week:
Morgan Stanley: via a vulnerable Accelion FTA server deployed by a third party vendor, hackers were able to access customer personal data within its Stockplan system. Data includes name, address and social security numbers. The data was encrypted, but alas, the hackers obtained the decryption key in the course of the attack.
Accelion sells a series of Enterprise Content Firewalls and their File Transfer Appliance (FTA) was revealed to have a bug in January. The company announcement says “but the patch was released with minimal impact.” Tell that to Morgan Stanley.
Mint Mobile reported that after customer data was hacked from their system it was used to illegally SIM swap some of the affected customer numbers. When hackers do that they are essentially hijacking the victim’s mobile phone number.
Where this becomes serious is when those mobile phone numbers are used for second factor authentication. One of the reasons why it generally considered safer to use a MFA app like Authy or Authenticator than SMS messages to your phone number for 2FA.
Kaseya ransomware offering fake security upgrades
Hackers and spammers are piling onto the latest supply chain attack according to Kayesa, the company most recently compromised. We reported last week how the remote management application supplier was hacked and thousands of its clients infected with REVil ransomware.
That was big news, and now phishing campaigns are being sent out posing as security fixes for Kayesa’s previously compromised VSA appliance. Those notices are in fact depositing various strains of malware on the victim’s computer.
As per a statement from Kaseya, going forward the company will never issue a download link in an email to customers. So never click on a link in an email purportedly from Kaseya.
Meanwhile, Kayesa finally did issue a real patch to fix the vulnerability that caused the problem in the first place.
PrintNightmare: Yet another Microsoft critical security flaw
Microsoft has issued a
One researcher pointed out that fully patched machines may still be vulnerable if they have Point and Print enabled, which apparently many enterprises do.
We tweeted this one right away from @AxisOfEasy as soon as we became aware of it. Be sure to follow us here if you want to see these types of breaking alerts as they happen….
36 US states sue google over anti-trust violations
A coalition of 35 US states has sued Google over anti-trust violations around the company’s app store Google Play, who’s new policy to take effect in September would require all Play store apps to pay a 30% commission to Google:
“To collect and maintain this extravagant commission, Google has employed anti-competitive tactics to diminish and disincentivize competition in Android app distribution, Google has not only targeted potentially competing app stores, but also has ensured that app developers themselves have no reasonable choice but to distribute their apps through the Google Play Store.”
This is now the fourth anti-trust case pending against Google, all of which revolve around the theme of Google being the “monopoly gatekeeper” of the internet.
Twitter falls in line, will censor for India
The last hold-out in Big Tech against the government of India’s demands to censor online content and provide surveillance to the state has backed down. Last week a lawyer for Twitter walked into a Delhi courtroom and told the judge the company would henceforth comply with India’s Interim Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code which came into effect in February.
The measure is:
“Justified by the need to ensure security in the country and protect its digital sovereignty – obligate Twitter and others to do is remove posts and produce user grievance reports. The companies’ executives could also be jailed for non compliance.”
Platforms must remove problematic content within 36 hours of being notified by Indian authorities, “present new encryption and traceability requirements, and mandate “proactive monitoring.””
Google and Facebook are already complying with the code.
Canada’s C-36 “hate speech” bill provides for pre-crime, house arrest and ankle tracking bracelets
Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti has introduced our country’s newest Internet content regulation in the form of Bill C-36, which seeks to modify Canada’s Criminal Code and Human Rights Act for “hate propaganda, hate crimes and hate speech.”
The bill endeavors to define “hatred” as “mean[ing] the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain;” and does make specific exclusion that statements are not “hatred” if they merely “discredit, humiliates, hurts or offends.“
There are some disturbing aspects of these proposed amendments. One is ambiguity. An offence is committed if statements are:
“Motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor.”
Does that mean I’m committing an offence if I say Germans as a race are sub-par hockey players? What about if I condemn Jihadists? Does this mean I have to be cool with biological males competing in women’s sports? Can I politely disagree with that?
Another troubling aspect is the amendments contain literal elements of pre-crime. Somebody can make a case before a judge that they:
“ Fear on reasonable grounds that another person will commit:
(a) an offence under section 318 or subsection 319(1) or (2);
(b) an offence under subsection 430(4.1); or
(c) an offence motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor.”
And if the magistrate signs off on it, they can order the subject (the “another person”) “enter into recognizance” for a period of up to a year.
It means the “another person” may have to:
- Remain under house arrest
- Wear an ankle tracking bracelet
- Abstain from consumption of alcohol and drugs, and provide urine or blood samples to confirm compliance
So the score so far:
- Bill C-10: gives the CRTC regulatory powers over the internet, opens the path to content censorship and licensing requirements for all content creators.
- Bill C-11: censors ‘hurtful words against politicians’ and provisions Internet Kill Switches to take out offending content
- Bill C-36: puts you under house arrest and orders you to undergo drug tests, abstain from alcohol and wear an ankle bracelet without a day in court before it happens
The bill: https://parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-2/bill/C-36/first-reading
Pentagon cancels 10B contract for Microsoft
During the Trump administration a 10 Billion cloud computing contract for the Pentagon’s JEDI program was awarded to Microsoft, much to the chagrin of those who were not awarded the contract, like Amazon. The subtext was that this was some sort of affront to how things were done and Trump was letting his animus for Bezos get in the way of awarding a huge chunk of pork to its rightful recipients. Amazon sued, I actually thought I covered all this in previous issues of AoE but can’t seem to find any of this.
The Pentagon has cancelled that contract. It now wants Microsoft and Amazon to split a contract on a new JEDI specification. Microsoft shares slumped on the news… while Amazon’s, predictably, soared. That was good for the Pelosi’s. Both speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi, bought about a couple million dollars worth of Amazon call options between them, in May. Those calls are now very nicely into the money. Nice work if you can get it.
What’s interesting is that statistically most professional hedge fund managers and financial advisors can’t beat the S&P500 (or whatever their benchmarks are). And yet pretty well everybody in Congress, who ostensibly are not professional traders or investors, consistently beat the markets. Weird.
Of Interest: How Mimetic desire makes the world go round
(Sometimes I feel like AoE has devolved into an endless litany of big tech venality and political corruption or cluelessness. It must be a tough grind reading it. Let’s start adding some signal that isn’t total buzzkill).
Worth listening to or watching is the Bankless podcast interview with Luke Burgis, the author of “Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire In Everyday Life.” Bankless is a podcast geared toward the Ethereum economy and DeFi, but the interview is wide ranging applicable everywhere. They don’t even really talk about cryptos until well into the second part of the interview. Before that the discussion is around the innate, veritably baked-in behavioural traits that cause people to want what other people want. The second order effects of that are far reaching and have compelling explanatory power.
Cuba shuts down Internet as mass protests erupt in the streets
We may be in the early innings of the fall of communism in Cuba as the economic situation there has deteriorated to the point where mass protests erupted in the streets over the weekend. Protests are rare in Cuba. Political dissenters face harsh penalties. Political executions have taken place as late as 2016. Political prisoners face torture, psychiatric torture, forced labour camps and have been subjected to biological experiments.
So for tens of thousand of Cubans to spill out into the streets demanding an the end of dictatorship and communism is quite remarkable.
Predictably, the Cuban government shut down the Internet connections and platforms trying to contain messaging into and out of the island. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Telegram were targeted. Meanwhile #soscuba began circulating on Twitter.
The genie may be out of the bottle however, as this Quartz article describes the build-out of Cuba’s 3G network since 2018 may have given the Internet enough penetration there to circumvent state ordered suppression of communications.
White House wants social media and SMS carriers to police “misinformation” in text messages
From the politicization of COVID file….
Politico reported yesterday that the DNC (Democratic National Committee) “and other Biden allied groups” are:
“planning to engage fact-checkers more aggressively and work with SMS carriers to dispel misinformation about vaccines that is sent over social media and text messages. “
As a furor seems to have erupted over Conservative Charlie Kirk’s sending via SMS a call to sign a petition against the administration’s plans to send canvassers door-to-door to drum up vaccination participancy.
It is interesting to note that Kirk’s SMS read:
“Biden is sending goons DOOR-TO-DOOR to make you take a Covid-19 vaccine. Sign the petition to: No medical raids in America.”
It’s bombastic, but I don’t see the misinformation in there, only an objection to what some may see as vaccination coercion.
Still, the important point is this: so called “fact checkers” are already moderating everything you say on social media and they frequently turn out to be either wrong, biased or both. And now, telecoms are supposed to be monitoring your SMS communications for misinformation. Does anybody other than me see a problem with this?
Especially because COVID has become irreparably polarized.
Not to mention that vaccine hesitancy is more accurately captured by age and educational level than political alignment. The young and non-college educated most likely to be hesitant, and hesitancy seems to decline over time. The top reasons given for hesitancy are:
- Possible side effects concerns
- “Wait and see”
- Don’t trust COVID vaccine specifically
- Don’t trust the government
AxisOfEasy Salon 44: Interview with Max Borders
Charles Hugh Smith and I were back in the saddle for AoE Salon #44, with a special gues, author, futurist and social commentator Max Borders.
Borders’ work around the idea of a coming “social singularity” has a lot of overlap with oft explored ideas here on the Axis: decentralization, networks and tectonic shifts occurring in the world today.
We explored the concept of “Satyagraha” or “Truthforce” and the ideals expressed in freedom movements throughout history.