Friday Open Thread 02-20-15

Good morning 99percenters!
Some news and Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks

The Great SIM Heist
How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle

AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.

The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands that makes the chips used in mobile phones and next-generation credit cards. Among its clients are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers around the world. The company operates in 85 countries and has more than 40 manufacturing facilities. One of its three global headquarters is in Austin, Texas and it has a large factory in Pennsylvania.

In all, Gemalto produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year. Its motto is “Security to be Free.”

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

The U.S.-Backed Government In Ukraine Is Starting To Lose The Civil War, The Mainstream Media In The U.S. Is Being Very Quiet About This

The mainstream media in the U.S. is being very quiet about this, but the truth is that the U.S.-backed government in Kiev is starting to lose the civil war. This week, the separatists captured the very important railway junction of Debaltseve despite the fact that a ceasefire is supposed to be in place. Buoyed by a constant influx of Russian weapons and supplies, the separatists have gained a clear upper hand in the conflict. But this was not supposed to happen. When protest groups that were funded, organized and advised by organizations in the United States violently overthrew the democratically elected Ukrainian government, the Obama administration was hoping that the Ukrainian people would rapidly embrace their new pro-western leaders. Instead, the nation was plunged into a very bitter civil war that could go on for many years. And as the battlefield stands right now, the government in Kiev will probably be forced to concede even more territory in the months ahead as more weapons and fighters arrive from Russia. The Obama administration could decide to intervene by shipping large amounts of weapons and supplies to the Ukrainian government, but that could turn the civil war in Ukraine into a proxy war between the United States and Russia. And the thing about proxy wars is that sometimes they turn into real wars.

Earlier this month, the world rejoiced when a ceasefire between the government in Kiev and the separatists was announced.

But it didn’t last long.

As I mentioned above, this week the separatists took full control of Debaltseve.  The following is how CNN described the situation on the ground…

The scene of devastation is staggering in Debaltseve, the town at the heart of the battle between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in recent days.

Barely a house is unscathed by shelling. Elderly civilians trapped by the fighting still cower in basements. After most Ukrainian forces pulled out Wednesday, the separatists are now in control.

It’s obvious there’s been a seismic shift on the battlefield. But it’s not yet clear what the Ukrainian withdrawal means for the shaky peace deal that came into force Sunday.

Will the separatists halt their offensive, satisfied with the territory they hold? Or will they be emboldened to push for more?

Russia deploying next-gen Nebo-M radar complexes to counter NATO threat

Russia has begun deploying the next generation of Nebo-M anti-missile radar facility systems as part of a responsive measure to a threat stemming from NATO anti-ballistic missile systems in Eastern Europe.

“The mobile multi-range programmable Nebo-M complex is capable of performing the tasks of providing information on small-sized aerodynamic and hypersonic targets in a difficult jamming background, as well as providing information for anti-missile weapon systems,” said colonel Aleksey Zolotuhin, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service.


The development and deployment of next-gen anti-missile systems featuring Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology is a top priority for the Russian Defense Ministry, as US anti-ballistic missile system are springing up in Romania, Turkey, Poland, and even in Spain.

The new Nebo-M 3-D radar system features a programmable multi-band design. The complex includes central data fusion and command post module as well as three radars, all deployed on separate high-mobility 8 x 8 24-ton vehicles. According to Aviatioweek, radars feed data to the command post using high-speed narrow-beam digital data links in the microwave band.


Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks - Payday Blues

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks - Where's the Money?

Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - The Euphonious Whale

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks - Along Comes a Viper

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks - Sweetheart

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a reminder to always log in to and to change your bookmarks to caucus99percent.com, we will eventually delete the old address and it will no longer work, we wont be doing that for a month or so though. Also for those who have the the old address of caucus99percent.com/blog/drupal link in their signature at DKos, please change it to reflect the new address.

Has anyone been experiencing any problems logging in?

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Lady Libertine's picture

but I thought it was b/c I have not been here in a few days. So I did the Forgot Password reset and here I am.

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with the old bookmark at caucus99percent.com/blog/drupal?

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Lady Libertine's picture

I log in to my faves stuff the laziest way possible, lol. But Ive set this new URL to my Bookmark Bar now so I think Im good.

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Big Al's picture

in Ukraine losing it's war, doesn't the U.S. always "lose" it's wars? I read that article yesterday and got to thinking
about that. Like with Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and the War OF Terror, the US didn't or won't win, there is no
winning of anything. But we know that's not really the purpose. Their purpose is to tear those countries apart, remove their
governments, and take over their natural resources and corporate infrastructure. Disaster capitalism and shock doctrine.
Look at Ukraine now. They overthrew the old government and installed a puppet regime. They're tearing the country apart,
slowly destroying it. The US and it's bankster bosses don't necessarily lose when it appears they lose. In the end, the serfs
always lose.

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NCTim's picture

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

NCTim's picture

SIM cards -> did they have to hack? or were the telecoms complicit? I think they could crack the encryption in relatively short order, having SIM cards only accelerated the process.

Great, more radiation sources.

... capable of performing the tasks of providing information on small-sized aerodynamic and hypersonic targets in a difficult jamming background

. The air is full of crap.

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

MarilynW's picture

That great TV series about the cops & the people in Baltimore. The cops had to get permission to "use the wire" against known criminals. Now everyone is a "criminal" and no permission is required for the government to get the means to spy on everyone. They just do it.

I got a smart phone since everyone in my family had one but now I view it with suspicion.

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NCTim's picture

... and ditched my smart phone. In fact, I have no cell phone. Even when I did, I would leave it on the dining room table evenings and all weekend. About the only utility I got was calling for a pizza.

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

shaharazade's picture

Everyone in my family has a smartphone except me. I have an absolutely useless landline that no one calls on except telemarketers and scammers. Husband has a cell but it's not smart just a flip phone for his business line. My kids grown ups are totally welded to their smartphones. We went out to dinner with my son and his wife on my birthday to a Italian restaurant and were discussing what the different Italian pastas offered, like rigatoni, were. My son whipped out his cell and right there on the table were pictures and definitions of every form of pasta ever created.. Afterwards we went to a hipster ice cream cone joint and the endless hipster line was lit up with smart phones showing the ice cream menu The smart seems to be sucked right out of your brain and gets eaten and regurgitated by your devise.

On Valentines day we went out to dinner and as we were leaving a woman at the table next to the door had her cell out and was photographing and sending a picture of her plate of food which had just been served. Lordy what's the deal with filtering and broadcasting your everyday life through a freaking stupid/smart phone. I was thinking of getting a smart phone so I could talk and communicate to my family and friends but do I really want to have a constant stream of pics, messages, info and music attached to my mobile self?

My grandaughter is switching back to a old time flip phone as she says she's sick of being connected to the internet every moment of the day and night. Quite a change as a few years ago I would find her in the morning laying in bed with her smart phone under her as she had rolled on it in her sleep. Clutched in her hand was the TV clicker with the empty screen flickering away. She also used to text nonstop with her phone in her lap while carrying on a conversions in real life. Her eyes were kinda scary like she wasn't there. Her regression seems to be a return to life. All in all I don't think I'll get one, at least with my PC I have to run upstairs 'check my e-mail' to get my internt wired fix.

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MarilynW's picture

The only time I appreciate them is when family goes out together and we get separated, so it's "where r u?" But on Tuesday my friend and I were on a photo shoot and we got separated in the park. When I got home I noticed that she had texted me twice telling me her whereabouts but I didn't even look at my phone at the time. I found her as I was walking backwards to get a full shot of a tall cedar tree. When I got the shot I looked around and there she was! Serendipity is lost when we overuse those stupid smart phones.

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MarilynW's picture

this is in response to a headline in the sidebar
Love the black/white items

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shaharazade's picture

the black and white items really appeal to this graphic artist. I also liked the skirt cuts and shapes. thanks.

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Shahryar's picture

I wish the models were about 5'4". That's what I consider the perfect height.

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