The DarkSide ransomware affiliate program responsible for the six-day outage at Colonial Pipeline this week that led to fuel shortages and price spikes across the country is running for the hills. The crime gang announced it was closing up shop after its servers were seized and someone drained the cryptocurrency from an account the group uses to pay affiliates.
(Via @vermontaigne) Normally I’d explain what happened with Darkside vis-a-vis the NSA, but honestly? Agent Bubbles summed it up nicely.
I will note this, though: when the company that you just took for ransom – while incidentally sparking reports of gas lines and fuel shortages across the eastern half of the USA – suddenly decides to pay the ransom after all, well… actually, never mind. There’s nothing to be nervous about. Don’t worry about it at all. Everybody knows that the NSA never gets involved in domestic political situations. You’ll be fine.
Shocking news, people: the NSA wants to go after foreign hackers. The nerve of them. The absolute nerve.
In mid-2012, Justice Department lawyers wrote two secret memos permitting the spy agency to begin hunting on Internet cables, without a warrant and on American soil, for data linked to computer intrusions originating abroad — including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware, the documents show.
The Justice Department allowed the agency to monitor only addresses and “cybersignatures” — patterns associated with computer intrusions — that it could tie to foreign governments. But the documents also note that the NSA sought permission to target hackers even when it could not establish any links to foreign powers.
And, gee: can’t imagine why Ed Snowden might be ready to throw up protective ink for Russi… err, foreign hackers. Can’t imagine that at all. A mystery of the ages, that.
…here. I am, ah, unconvinced that we’re going to end up better off for junking these provisions. But, on the bright side? Maybe Ed Snowden will now think that the coast is clear, and go somewhere where we can extradite him and put him on trial for espionage. That’s worth something, at least.
‘What happened’ being ‘two guys dressed as women tried to crash the NSA gate with their stolen car and were then promptly shot.’ Not terrorism, by the way: just… surreal. In fact, this would be possibly not devoid of humor, except that somebody died:
One man is dead and another severely injured after gunfire erupted today at one of the main gates of the National Security Agency located at Fort Meade, Maryland.
Sources say the two inside were men dressed as women. Preliminary information indicated the two men were partying at an area hotel with a third individual when they took that individual’s car without permission. However, it’s still unclear how or why they ended up at the NSA gate.
The owner of the SUV picked up two men dressed as women in Baltimore late Sunday, sources confirmed. The three allegedly drove to a hotel in Howard County, Maryland, where they partied, sources said. Early this morning, the man woke up alone and the two men he allegedly had picked up were gone and so was his vehicle, sources said. The man reported his vehicle stolen to Howard County Police before the incident at the NSA, sources said.
I don’t like to preach, but there seems to have been a cascade event of Poor Life Choices going on, there.
Edward Snowden‘s massive misappropriations of classified documents from the inner sanctum of U.S. intelligence is mainly presented by the media as a whistleblowing story. In this narrative—designed by Mr. Snowden himself—he is portrayed as a disgruntled contractor for the National Security Agency, acting alone, who heroically exposed the evils of government surveillance beginning in 2013.
The other way of looking at it—based on the number and nature of documents Mr. Snowden took, and the dates when they were taken—is that only a handful of the secrets had anything to do with domestic surveillance by the government and most were of primary value to an espionage operation.
Ostensibly, he’s doing something completely different: “The Obama administration is preparing to unveil a legislative proposal for a far-reaching overhaul of the National Security Agency’s once-secret bulk phone records program in a way that — if approved by Congress — would end the aspect that has most alarmed privacy advocates since its existence was leaked last year, according to senior administration officials.”
WASHINGTON — A vocal proponent among US Senate liberals for controversial National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance efforts says the program could be shut down, and experts are unsure how many Americans’ phone numbers have been gathered.
Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, one of the few proponents of the NSA data-collection programs among Democratic progressives, said Wednesday he is “not assuming” that lawmakers will opt to “keep the bulk collection.”
Interesting analysis here from Sean Trende, especially at the end:
If the president’s job approval is still around 43 percent in November — lower than it was on Election Day in 2010 — the question would probably not be whether the Democrats will hold the Senate, but whether Republicans can win 54 or 55 seats. Given the numbers right now, that should not be unthinkable.
But there’s a flip side to this. If Obama’s job approval does bounce back — which is exactly what happened in 2012 — there’s a reasonable chance that Republicans could walk away from this cycle with just a handful of pickups.
Basically, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R) – with Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D) sitting right there, and not protesting – intimated that Ed Snowden may have been assisted by foreign intelligence agencies when he stole classified information. This will probably be a big topic of conversation this morning:
The Michigan Republican added that there are still “certain questions that we have to get answered” about who helped Snowden remove data from the NSA and later make it public in newspapers in the United States and Britain.
“He was stealing information that had to do with how we operate overseas to collect information to keep Americans safe…. And some of the things he did were beyond his technical capabilities” — a fact which Rogers said “raises more questions. How he arranged travel before he left. How he was ready to go, he had a go bag, if you will.”
Rogers added that he believes “there’s a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB (Russian security service) agent in Moscow. I don’t think that’s a coincidence….I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.”