Wednesday, August 3, 2011

McAfee Discovers Hacking and Tells Us Months Later, 45 Million On Food Stamps

From the muckracking pages of TPM, comes a report on the largest cyber-espionage hacking in the world, so far:

"Security experts have discovered the biggest series of cyber attacks to date, involving the infiltration of the networks of 72 organizations including the United Nations, governments and companies around the world." Almost every major billion-dollar corporation has been hacked, along with the governments of South Korea, Taiwan, India, the International Olympic Committee, and the United Nations, in a report on the hackings released by McAffee, now a subsidiary of Intel Corp.

Most of the hacking, which has been passively monitored for the last five years, seems to come from China. A year ago I posted that it looked like one of the requirements to graduate from a Chinese university was to have successfully hacked into a western country's computers or business rival, with the best and brightest going to work for the government. It now looks like this is true. China is also a player in the high technology market, buying up many of the more successful companies in Asia and South America. I guess we could say it's your tax dollars at work...
"I'm not surprised because that's what China does, they are gradually dominating the cyberworld," - Vijay Mukhi
"I am convinced that every company in every conceivable industry with significant size and valuable intellectual property and trade secrets has been compromised (or will be shortly), with the great majority of the victims rarely discovering the intrusion or its impact,"

"In fact, I divide the entire set of Fortune Global 2000 firms into two categories: those that know they've been compromised and those that don't yet know." - Dmitri Aperovitch
The Chinese government will probably respond by arresting some more artists and writers, since it's easier to bullshit the public when confronted with the truth. That's what bureaucracies do best, build layers of deniability to insulate the stupid people in charge. It's called the Peter Principal, which states that in every closed hierarchal system, each person rises to their highest level of incompetence, and that they will try to surround themselves with people more incompetent than they are, in order to make themselves look smart. The classic case for this is the Presidency of George W Bush, and in the current world platform, the governments of North Korea, Iran, Syria, New Jersey, Florida, and Arizona, and what Dick Cheney did while at Haliburton...

The US government released the figures that over 45,700 million people in America are currently on food stamps, and that number is growing with each month. I haven't been on food stamps since I was a failed hippie in my twenties, but I recently have been contemplating applying. I only receive some retirement money, and after my half of the mortgage and bills, leaves me with about $300 to buy cat food and ramen and cans of tuna. Splurging is buying that one bag of potato chips at the beginning of each month, lord knows that I make no money from this blog... The next big debate in Congress will be how to create jobs. when we cut trillions from our debt, we will be laying off thousands of people, with thousands more in the private sector being laid off when contracts get canceled. About the only thing that the government can do is to approve construction projects on infrastructure, which are temporary at best. Many of the big private sector companies have already laid off their excess employees and don't plan on rehiring any more, as they have found out that they can make just as much profits with less employees, while not having to pay taxes on those profits. And if the Republicans can use the smoke and mirrors tactics that they so successfully have done during the manufactured debt ceiling crisis, less money will go to the wage earners with more trickling up to those at the top. They won't be happy until we all are indentured servants, shackled and working for free, er, to pay off that overpriced mortgage...

One of my favorite people of all time that has gotten the folks around him thinking that he is a smart person, is Newt Gingrich. A couple of the mini-scandals currently surrounding him is when it was found out that the campaign t-shirts he was selling, that says Newt in 2012, and that he touted were made in the good old USA, were actually made in El Salvador. Probably by ex-contras, so that made it OK because the contract was facilitated by Ollie North...

The second controversy I saw on the Daily Show, where Newt had hired a company to create fake people that followed him on twitter, giving him the most followers than any other Republican candidate.. The story comes from New york magazine, who spread the rumor that:

Newt employs a variety of agencies whose sole purpose is to procure Twitter followers for people who are shallow/insecure/unpopular enough to pay for them. As you might guess, Newt is most decidedly one of the people to which these agencies cater.

'About 80 percent of those accounts are inactive or are dummy accounts created by various "follow agencies," another 10 percent are real people who are part of a network of folks who follow others back and are paying for followers themselves (Newt's profile just happens to be a part of these networks because he uses them, although he doesn't follow back), and the remaining 10 percent may, in fact, be real, sentient people who happen to like Newt Gingrich. If you simply scroll through his list of followers you'll see that most of them have odd usernames and no profile photos, which has to do with the fact that they were mass generated. Pathetic, isn't it?

Now, there are certainly reasons to believe this could be true. Gingrich does have a big head, and somewhere inside that big head, a large ego. But there's another, more plausible reason that Gingrich has so many followers: As Hot Air points out, back in 2009, Gingrich was one of the "suggested users" featured by Twitter, which meant that many new users followed his account based on Twitter's own recommendation. As the New York Times reported in January of 2009:

In the last few months [Twitter] has plucked a few hundred users from a sea of more than 30 million and put them on its A-list, deeming them particularly worthy of being followed. In separating the wheat from the chaff, Twitter has become a kingmaker of sorts, conferring online stardom to a mix of writers, gadget geeks, political commentators and entrepreneurs.
After being named to the “suggested user” list, Twitterers can gain more than 500,000 followers who get their brief updates via a cellphone or the Internet."

So, either the clown has cynically created false users to bolster his popularity, or twitter gave him half of his followers by recommendation to new users, or both. In the end, does it really matter? Can Newt give us wisdom in 140 characters or less? We know that Sarah can diss quite well in that format, as most of her thinking comes under 140 characters at a time, but Newt has shown himself o be more verbose and downright cranky... He recently criticized Barack Obama as being the Paul Krugman presidency. Which shows that Newt hasn't ever taken the time to sit down and read Krugman's columns in the NY Times. Paul is very critical of how Obama handles the financial crisis, in fact, I wish Obama would take his advice once in awhile (Krugman's that is, not Newt's...)...

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