How did investigators link hacks to Russia?

This report in The Intercept does a good job of explaining possible ways that evidence was collected. Keep in mind that the indictments handed out by the U.S. DoJ are literally a set of accusations – the indictments do not present the evidence. Evidence would be presented at a trial.

The indictment has a surprising amount of technical information and presents the most detailed and plausible pictures of the Russian cyberattacks so far.

Source: What Mueller’s Latest Indictment Reveals About Russian and U.S. Spycraft

There is also an argument (not presented in the story) that prosecutors know there will never be a trial. Consequently, an indictment, such as that made by the DoJ, can serve as political or propaganda tool to shape public perception. The DoJ can make accusations – which many if not most news reports are reporting as confirmation of actions. But accusations are not necessarily facts until a Court determines that the accusations are true or false based on evidence. However, since those charged are all in Russia, there will likely never be a trial. The effect is that these accusations are mutated into (unproven) facts.

The accusations may be true – or they could be false. We will never know. But we will have our opinions formed by media reports, which are already reporting on this topic as if the accusations are true.

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This blog has moved to https://coldstreams.com

I am discontinuing hosting this blog on https://coldstreams.wordpress.com

and moving to https://coldstreams.com

I originally moved from self hosting at coldstreams.com due to difficulties – then – with getting https and cross posting to Facebook. The https issues are no longer a problem, and I will no longer be cross posting to Facebook due to Facebook being unsafe for anyone to use at this time plus their News filter largely hiding the page from 97% or more of the 221 people following on Facebook.

Plus, it seems that Google search greatly down ranks blogs hosted at wordpress.com web sites. I get more readers finding stuff on the old web site – which had not been updated in a year – than this wordpress.com web site!

Therefore the new URL is: https://coldstreams.com

All the new content has been migrated back over to coldstreams.com.

This change is effective 26 March 2018.

80% of VC money goes to just 3 states

A whopping 80 percent of all venture capital investment goes to just three states. That has to change. – Recode

VCs discriminate against women: Just 2.19% of total VC money went to female-founded startups in 2016.

VCs discrimate against anyone over age 30 and especially over age 40

Meanwhile, Facebook spies on everyone and uses that data to propagandize us with messaging designed to control our minds.

The tech industry is looking pretty damned awful right now.

Bitcoin

A very decent explanation for those not wanting to read the technical paper:

“There’s no easy way to explain Bitcoin, but let me wave my hands and try: When you go to the ATM at a store and get money to buy a six-pack, you put in your bank card. The transaction processor verifies it somewhere in the ether, takes a fee, and spits out cash. It’s all powered by software. OK, deep breath. Acquiring Bitcoin is like using an ATM, except instead of government-backed money you get proof that a computer somewhere solved an automated puzzle faster than other computers, and instead of using an ATM card you’re using an auto-generated token that only you have, and instead of connecting to a bank you’re connecting to a decentralized network of computers that collectively maintain and update copies of a massive historical database of transactions—and that also collectively validate transactions, using, well, math, and spit out new Bitcoins from time to time, to reward the puzzle solvers. Slow exhale. Almost there. And instead of buying a six-pack from someone behind a counter, you’re transferring some amount of Bitcoin to another anonymous token. Over time, all the transactions that people make get lumped into blocks and validated, and they get a special code that takes into account all the codes in the blocks that came before, and thus you have it: a blockchain. According to Bitcoin.org, the Bitcoin blockchain is about 145 gigabytes, though it will be bigger by the time you read this.”

Source: Bitcoin Is Ridiculous. Blockchain Is Dangerous: Paul Ford – Bloomberg

The author goes on to write:

“The current wave of coins will eventually ebb, because it’s a big, inefficient, unholy mess. It’s more ideology than financial instrument, and ideology is rarely a sustainable store of value. Plus, transactions are slow (everyone says they’re fixing that), and you shouldn’t have to use an aluminum smelter’s worth of power to make new currency.”

The article spot lights some very scary ramifications of blockchain technology, such as encoding a permanent record of allegations (not convictions) that would tarnish individuals for life as it could not be deleted.

Read the whole article to get an un-hyped perspective on bitcoin and blockchain technology.

Loyalty Cards are used to spy on  your purchases, and not just with the vendor

The story of how that Sudafed ad got to me begins at Walgreens. As I bought tissues and Afrin, I keyed in my phone number so I could get loyalty points.

Source: Facebook Really Is Spying on You, Just Not Through Your Phone’s Mic – WSJ

Stores use your loyalty card to identify you and all of your purchases. Your purchase transactions are then sold to other marketing companies. This data, in turn, can and is matched to your Facebook account and other online data using the phone number that you gave to the store and to Facebook or Google.

Think about how Facebook, Twitter and other online services are constantly pestering you to give them your phone number. Once they have your phone number, anything else you do that is linked to your phone number – such as using a loyalty card when buying stuff at Safeway or Walgreen’s is then accessible.

Everyone is also using the tracking data that Google collects on your Android phone to monitor where you are. Remember, that too is tied to your phone number. As I described on my other blog, the Facebook dossier even tracks what apps you have on  your phone and data mines that to identify potential marketing opportunities.

Google and Facebook are doing highly invasive surveillance and almost no one understands what is being done or what this means.