Source: This article was published nytimes.com By GABRIEL J.X. DANCE, NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, and MICHAEL LaFORGIA - Contributed by Member: Linda Manly

As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information.

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books.

But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.

[Here’s what we know about Facebook’s partnerships with device makers.]

Most of the partnerships remain in effect, though Facebook began winding them down in April. The company came under intensifying scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators after news reports in March that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, misused the private information of tens of millions of Facebook users.

In the furor that followed, Facebook’s leaders said that the kind of access exploited by Cambridge in 2014 was cut off by the next year, when Facebook prohibited developers from collecting information from users’ friends. But the company officials did not disclose that Facebook had exempted the makers of cellphones, tablets and other hardware from such restrictions.

“You might think that Facebook or the device manufacturer is trustworthy,” said Serge Egelman, a privacy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies the security of mobile apps. “But the problem is that as more and more data is collected on the device — and if it can be accessed by apps on the device — it creates serious privacy and security risks.”

In interviews, Facebook officials defended the data sharing as consistent with its privacy policies, the F.T.C. agreement and pledges to users. They said its partnerships were governed by contracts that strictly limited use of the data, including any stored on partners’ servers. The officials added that they knew of no cases where the information had been misused.

The company views its device partners as extensions of Facebook, serving its more than two billion users, the officials said.

“These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform,” said Ime Archibong, a Facebook vice president. Unlike developers that provide games and services to Facebook users, the device partners can use Facebook data only to provide versions of “the Facebook experience,” the officials said.

Some device partners can retrieve Facebook users’ relationship status, religion, political leaning and upcoming events, among other data. Tests by The Times showed that the partners requested and received data in the same way other third parties did.

Facebook’s view that the device makers are not outsiders lets the partners go even further, The Times found: They can obtain data about a user’s Facebook friends, even those who have denied Facebook permission to share information with any third parties.

In interviews, several former Facebook software engineers and security experts said they were surprised at the ability to override sharing restrictions.

“It’s like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,” said Ashkan Soltani, a research and privacy consultant who formerly served as the F.T.C.’s chief technologist.

How One Phone Gains Access to Hundreds of Thousands of Facebook Accounts

After connecting to Facebook, the BlackBerry Hub app was able to retrieve detailed data on 556 of Mr. LaForgia's friends, including relationship status, religious and political leanings and events they planned to attend. Facebook has said that it cut off third parties' access to this type of information in 2015, but that it does not consider BlackBerry a third party in this case.

The Hub app was also able to access information — including unique identifiers — on 294,258 friends of Mr. LaForgia's friends.

By Rich Harris and Gabriel J.X. Dance

Details of Facebook’s partnerships have emerged amid a reckoning in Silicon Valley over the volume of personal information collected on the internet and monetized by the tech industry. The pervasive collection of data, while largely unregulated in the United States, has come under growing criticism from elected officials at home and overseas and provoked concern among consumers about how freely their information is shared.

In a tense appearance before Congress in March, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, emphasized what he said was a company priority for Facebook users.“Every piece of content that you share on Facebook you own,” he testified. ”You have complete control over who sees it and how you share it.”

But the device partnerships provoked discussion even within Facebook as early as 2012, according to Sandy Parakilas, who at the time led third-party advertising and privacy compliance for Facebook’s platform.

“This was flagged internally as a privacy issue,” said Mr. Parakilas, who left Facebook that year and has recently emerged as a harsh critic of the company. “It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook’s testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled.”

The partnerships were briefly mentioned in documents submitted to German lawmakers investigating the social media giant’s privacy practices and released by Facebook in mid-May. But Facebook provided the lawmakers with the name of only one partner — BlackBerry, maker of the once-ubiquitous mobile device — and little information about how the agreements worked.

The submission followed testimony by Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy, during a closed-door German parliamentary hearing in April. Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, one of the lawmakers who questioned Mr. Kaplan, said in an interview that she believed the data partnerships disclosed by Facebook violated users’ privacy rights.

“What we have been trying to determine is whether Facebook has knowingly handed over user data elsewhere without explicit consent,” Ms. Winkelmeier-Becker said. “I would never have imagined that this might even be happening secretly via deals with device makers. BlackBerry users seem to have been turned into data dealers, unknowingly and unwillingly.”

In interviews with The Times, Facebook identified other partners: Apple and Samsung, the world’s two biggest smartphone makers, and Amazon, which sells tablets.

An Apple spokesman said the company relied on private access to Facebook data for features that enabled users to post photos to the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things. Apple said its phones no longer had such access to Facebook as of last September.

Samsung declined to respond to questions about whether it had any data-sharing partnerships with Facebook. Amazon also declined to respond to questions.

Usher Lieberman, a BlackBerry spokesman, said in a statement that the company used Facebook data only to give its own customers access to their Facebook networks and messages. Mr. Lieberman said that the company “did not collect or mine the Facebook data of our customers,” adding that “BlackBerry has always been in the business of protecting, not monetizing, customer data.”

Microsoft entered a partnership with Facebook in 2008 that allowed Microsoft-powered devices to do things like add contacts and friends and receive notifications, according to a spokesman. He added that the data was stored locally on the phone and was not synced to Microsoft’s servers.

Facebook acknowledged that some partners did store users’ data — including friends’ data — on their own servers. A Facebook official said that regardless of where the data was kept, it was governed by strict agreements between the companies.

“I am dumbfounded by the attitude that anybody in Facebook’s corporate office would think allowing third parties access to data would be a good idea,” said Henning Schulzrinne, a computer science professor at Columbia University who specializes in network security and mobile systems.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how loosely Facebook had policed the bustling ecosystem of developers building apps on its platform. They ranged from well-known players like Zynga, the maker of the FarmVille game, to smaller ones, like a Cambridge contractor who used a quiz taken by about 300,000 Facebook users to gain access to the profiles of as many as 87 million of their friends.

Those developers relied on Facebook’s public data channels, known as application programming interfaces, or APIs. But starting in 2007, the company also established private data channels for device manufacturers.

At the time, mobile phones were less powerful, and relatively few of them could run stand-alone Facebook apps like those now common on smartphones. The company continued to build new private APIs for device makers through 2014, spreading user data through tens of millions of mobile devices, game consoles, televisions and other systems outside Facebook’s direct control.

Facebook began moving to wind down the partnerships in April, after assessing its privacy and data practices in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Mr. Archibong said the company had concluded that the partnerships were no longer needed to serve Facebook users. About 22 of them have been shut down.

The broad access Facebook provided to device makers raises questions about its compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the F.T.C.

The decree barred Facebook from overriding users’ privacy settings without first getting explicit consent. That agreement stemmed from an investigation that found Facebook had allowed app developers and other third parties to collect personal details about users’ friends, even when those friends had asked that their information remain private.

After the Cambridge Analytica revelations, the F.T.C. began an investigation into whether Facebook’s continued sharing of data after 2011 violated the decree, potentially exposing the company to fines.

Facebook officials said the private data channels did not violate the decree because the company viewed its hardware partners as “service providers,” akin to a cloud computing service paid to store Facebook data or a company contracted to process credit card transactions. According to the consent decree, Facebook does not need to seek additional permission to share friend data with service providers.

“These contracts and partnerships are entirely consistent with Facebook’s F.T.C. consent decree,” Mr. Archibong, the Facebook official, said.

But Jessica Rich, a former F.T.C. official who helped lead the commission’s earlier Facebook investigation, disagreed with that assessment.

“Under Facebook’s interpretation, the exception swallows the rule,” said Ms. Rich, now with the Consumers Union. “They could argue that any sharing of data with third parties is part of the Facebook experience. And this is not at all how the public interpreted their 2014 announcement that they would limit third-party app access to friend data.”

To test one partner’s access to Facebook’s private data channels, The Times used a reporter’s Facebook account — with about 550 friends — and a 2013 BlackBerry device, monitoring what data the device requested and received. (More recent BlackBerry devices, which run Google’s Android operating system, do not use the same private channels, BlackBerry officials said.)

Immediately after the reporter connected the device to his Facebook account, it requested some of his profile data, including user ID, name, picture, “about” information, location, email, and cell phone number. The device then retrieved the reporter’s private messages and the responses to them, along with the name and user ID of each person with whom he was communicating.

The data flowed to a BlackBerry app known as the Hub, which was designed to let BlackBerry users view all of their messages and social media accounts in one place.

The Hub also requested — and received — data that Facebook’s policy appears to prohibit. Since 2015, Facebook has said that apps can request only the names of friends using the same app. But the BlackBerry app had access to all of the reporter’s Facebook friends and, for most of them, returned information such as user ID, birthday, work and education history and whether they were currently online.

The BlackBerry device was also able to retrieve identifying information for nearly 295,000 Facebook users. Most of them were second-degree Facebook friends of the reporter, or friends of friends.

In all, Facebook empowers BlackBerry devices to access more than 50 types of information about users and their friends, The Times found.

Categorized in Social

What Are you trying to find out how to access the dark web and what is it?

Well, look no further, we have gone and done the research so we could show you step by step the best and safest way how to access the darknet.

We cover everything, from setting up Tor, how to choose a VPN, what not to do, finding the best sites to access, and extra steps to remain anonymous.

It is extremely easy to access the dark web and even easier to be detected on it if you don’t take precautions. If you are new to the darknet, this guide will help you on your way.

According to researchers, only 4% of the internet is visible to the general public.

Meaning that the remaining 96% of the internet is made up of “The Deep Web”.

Dark Web or DarkNet is a subset of the Deep Web where there are sites that sell drugs, hacking software, counterfeit money and more. We explain this further down the article if you are not up to speed.

If you are looking to access hidden marketplace’s or darknet websites (with a .onion domain) then dark web access is done using the TOR network with the TOR browser bundle. TOR is the most widely used dark web browser.

How To Access The Dark Web Guide

Step 1: Go and get yourself a good VPN (Virtual Private Network) here, use it ALL of the time, no matter if you are on TOR or not. This site here reviews the best VPN’s for use with TOR.

You should be taking your anonymity and security very seriously if you are visiting the Dark Net, especially if you are viewing any Darknet Markets.

Do not fool yourself and think that the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) and Law Enforcement are not trying to track those who use Tor to access the Dark Web, they are, and they are good at it so don’t make it easy for them.

It should be brought to your attention that there was a recent Tor vulnerability which leaked your REAL IP address leading back to your real location. If you already have the Tor Browser then UPDATE it immediately. Vulnerabilities like these are happening more often to Tor.

VPN for Dark Web Access

By using the simple VPN app, your darknet activities will be hidden from your ISP and government agencies as all of your internet usages will be encrypted. No one will even know you are using TOR, let alone browsing for darknet markets.

What’s even better is that the VPN will give you a fake IP address, in another country if you like, so even if Tor is compromised then the trace just leads back to somewhere else that can’t be linked to you.

The other benefit of using a VPN is to prevent hackers stealing your identity and or personal files and photos from your computer.

You need to use a good VPN that keeps NO LOGS, fast performance, preferably accepts bitcoin as payment, has a kill switch for DNS leaks, and is compatible with TOR.

Then install your VPN, if you buy one of the better VPN’s then it is usually just a one-click install and one or two clicks to turn it on.

Step 2: You can’t access the deep web just using a common browser like Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. To get dark net access you will need to download the dark web browser called TOR browser bundle. Only get it from the official TOR website, never download it from anywhere else!

Now close all of your browsing windows and all apps connecting to the internet like Google Drive, Skype, OneDrive, iCloud etc.

Then open your VPN app and connect to another location other than where you are at, make sure to use the OpenVPN protocol as it is the most secure.

Open up your normal favorite browser and then download TOR

TOR Official Website: 

https://www.torproject.org/download/download.html

Tor Browser Download

Step 3: Install the TOR browser bundle on your PC or Mac. When the download is complete, double-click the downloaded file, choose the destination folder (the folder where you want to extract tor browser), and choose extract.

Step 4: Start TOR Browser. Open the folder where you extracted TOR browser and double-click “Start Tor Browser”. The TOR start page will open in a browser window (it’s actually a portable version of FireFox stripped down).

From here, you now have a good level of anonymity and security and you are able to gain access to .onion websites through your dark web browser.

tor-folder

Congratulations…

Next, you will want to visit a dark web site.

Now you have dark net access you should Click HERE to view the Darknet Market List so you can visit some of the best black market websites on the Deep Web.

silkroad
Silk Road ( Dark web screenshot )

If you do want to check out some dark net markets then you should follow the guide for that specific market as it will show you step by step what to do to sign up, browse etc.
If you are looking for the biggest list of hidden deep web links go here so you can find exactly what you are looking for. (some also call them dark web links). We have compiled one of the biggest lists of tested .onion sites on the darknet complete with a search function, website name, description, categories, site status and even a screenshot of the landing page so you can see if your site is online or dead.

Now we have shown you how to access the dark web we have some very important tips to share…

Bitcoin and Buying on the Dark Web:

If you are on the darknet to buy something, and most of us are, then you will need to use cryptocurrency to do so and Bitcoin is the most used cryptocurrency on the dark web.

Buying cryptocurrencies is another topic altogether, so we won’t go into it here but this site has made an easy to follow guide on buying bitcoin, but we will give you one GOLDEN tip on how to go under the radar and not have your crypto exchange account shut down and lose money.

NEVER send cryptocurrency directly from your exchange account (where you buy the coins) to a market or anywhere on the dark web, also never send coins directly from anywhere on the darknet to your exchange. They are onto this right away as they can tell where the coins came from and they WILL shut you down and you will be recorded in a list for sure.

You must send your coins from your exchange to a wallet (find out how to in the guides) then from the wallet to the dark web and vice-versa.

Bonus Security Steps For the Dark Net:
cyber-security

Step 5: DO NOT change the TOR browser window size unless you like living dangerously. The FEDS have programs that can match identities on random things such and match time online and other things with the browser window size, I shit you not. If you don’t change the size then it is the same as most other people.

Step 6: Please remember that TOR isn’t necessarily 100% anonymous, you should turn off JavaScript within the dark web browser settings to help.

tor-javascript-setting

Block Javascript in TOR Browser

Step 7: Disconnect your webcam or block the camera with some black tape. Hackers and governments have ways of getting into your computer and turning on the video and cameras.

You can have intimate images of you be used as blackmail or extortion, or even worse, used by the feds.

zuckerberg
Covered camera and mic?

Step 8: Disconnect your microphone or cover it with tape to muffle it good. The same goes for the microphone as the camera, the last thing you want is to be recorded saying incriminating things at home. It doesn’t even have to be while on the darknet. Even the Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg does it as he knows the dangers.

Step 9: NEVER use your real name, photos, email, or even password that you have used before on the dark web. This is the fastest way to be tracked. Use an anonymous email account and aliases that have nothing to do with you that you have never used before.

Step 10: If you are using TOR on the dark web for anything other than looking at cute pictures of kittens, you should think seriously about your privacy and security. Jolly Roger has put together a comprehensive guide on how to stay safe on the deep web, view the guide here.

If you have read through this how to access the darknet guide and thought to yourself WTF? Then you are probably new to this and need a bit of background and information to get you up to speed. Please remember to share this post so everyone that wants to have a look on the Dark Web can do so and do it safely.

What is the Clear Web?

Firstly, there is the Clear Web/Clear Net. This is the normal internet where you do everyday things like check Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter and buy things from Amazon etc. All websites and web pages that a search engine like Google can find are on the Clear Net.

What is the Deep Web?

Then we have the Deep Web. This is a subset of the internet that cannot be indexed (found) by search engines like Google. This includes all web pages that are behind membership logins, all company and organization web pages used internally and other data. The majority of the deep web does not have anything illegal on it.

deep-web-dark-web-differences

Deep Web and Dark Web

What is the Dark Web (also called darknet)?

Then we have the Dark Web. This is a subset of the Deep Web that contains all sorts of websites, both legal and illegal. The types of sites include black markets that sell things like drugs, counterfeit goods, and weapons, you also have hacking sites, X-rated sites, bitcoin tumbling, and even sites for hitmen. The variety of sites on the Dark Web is quite astonishing. For now, there is no dark web search engine that works as well as Google does for the clarinet.

 Source: This article was published darkwebnews.com By Tarquin

Categorized in Deep Web

There is an inverse relationship between public access to the Internet and the inability of governments and institutions to control information flow and hence state allegiance, ideology, public opinion, and policy formulation.

Increase in public access to the Internet results in an equivalent decrease in government and institutional power. Indeed, after September 11, 2001, Internet traffic statistics show that many millions of Americans have connected to alternative news sources outside the continental United States. The information they consume can be and often is contrary to US government statements and US mainstream media reporting. 

Information is a strategic resource vital to national security. US Government efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of USG interests, policies, and objectives through coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the actions of all elements of national power: Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economic, Finance, Law Enforcement, Information… The DOD must also support and participate in USG Strategic C communications activities to understand, inform, and influence relevant foreign audiences, including the DOD’s transition to and from hostilities, security, military forward presence, and stability operations. US Army Unconventional Warfare Manual, 2008

In the early 1990s scores of studies were conducted by the US government, think tanks, consulting firms, defense contractors, futurists and military thinkers on the likely threats to the US military’s electronic communications systems. Those analyses often encompassed commercial networked systems.

For example, in May 1993 Security Measures for Wireless Communications was released under the auspices of the US National Communications System. Not long after, the same office published The Electronic Intrusion Threat to National Security and Emergency Preparedness in December 1994. During June 1995 a conference, co-sponsored by the Technical Marketing Society of America, was held. That event was titled Information Warfare: Addressing the Revolutionary New Paradigm for Modern Warfare.

Then as now the most pernicious and non-life threatening cyber-attacks normally resulted in the theft of identities and, perhaps, intellectual property to which ‘experts’ would assign dollar values. Other network, computer assaults were visited upon databases containing personal information producing headaches for the individuals who had to get new credit cards or revise identities. Embarrassment was the penalty for commercial organizations too cheap to invest in robust electronic security systems.

I Love New York

Information Operations have not taken place (yet) resulting in large scale, life-threatening fallout, but the 1977 New York City blackout provides some clues as to what might result from a successful cyber assault on a power grid. Those initially responsible for the Black Out were bolts of lightning from a thunderstorm that repeatedly struck a Consolidated Edison facility. Redundancies built into the grid that did not function and aging equipment and operator error led to the loss of power.  Observers were already thinking about rudimentary network centric themes even then as The Trigger Effect from the 1978 series Connections by James Burke demonstrates.

It is difficult to say with any certainty if, over the last 23 years, competently secured US military networks have been successfully compromised by electronic intrusions by noted Information Warfare nations Russia, China and Israel seeking to steal classified, compartmented data or Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance technologies. That information is not likely to ever see the light of day, classified as it should be.

Certainly, US military websites and other government organizations have been hacked successfully over the years resulting in detrimental data spills and website defacement. But these do not rise to the level of national security threat; instead, they are clear cut cases of robbery and vandalism and should be viewed from a civilian law enforcement perspective.

Insiders Have Done More Damage to US National Security

It is worth noting that, to date, the most serious breaches of US national and military security have come at the hands of disillusioned US citizens like Jonathan Pollard (US Navy) and Richard Hansen (FBI) who lifted paper documents from secure facilities, and Edward Snowden (NSA & Booz Allen) who downloaded electronic files to his storage devices.

As far as anyone knows, the electromagnetic waves emanating from a computer display have not been remotely manipulated by a state or non-state actor to kill or maim a person looking at the display. But transmitting retroviral software at some distance, or using an intelligence operative to insert destructive code via a flash drive, is known to have been successful in the US-led operation against Iran as theStuxent case demonstrated.

Recent electronic intrusions and theft of data/images from the non-secured private accounts of former NATO commander General Phillip Breedlove, USAF (Ret.); Andrew Weiner (sexting former politician from New York) or General Colin Powell, USA (Ret.) are generally served up by hackers and then picked up as news by US Big Media and Social Media. Humiliating as it is for the individuals involved, this nefarious CYBER-vandalism is not a national security matter, but it is used, gleefully, by any number of political interest groups and businesses for their own ends.

In like manner, the Sony, Democratic National Committee and Yahoo electronic break-ins, for example, are not national security incidents by any stretch of the imagination. Were they criminal actions and embarrassing for the victims? Yes. Did the information peddled by the hackers influence the public in some fashion? Sure. If sponsors of the hackers are from Russia, China, Iran, DPRK, Daesh, Israel or any other cyber-suspect, should they be exposed and brought to justice? Yes.

Should we nuke them or carpet bomb them? No.

It is problematic that politico-military strategists and tacticians, spurred on by any number of think tanks and CYBER hustlers in Washington, DC and New York (Atlantic CouncilNew York Times), have pushed the robbery of data/information and vandalism, or defacement of main-page websites into a crisis that threatens the nation’s stability. More’s the pity,  they have pasted CYBER over Information Warfare and have meshed it with Asymmetric Warfare and Unconventional Warfare not recognizing the differences and nuances.

CYBER Influence Peddlers: Pest Control Needed

CYBER enthusiasts at the Atlantic Council and the New York Times see foreign news agencies like Xinhua/People’s Daily, Press TV, RT, Sputnik News and Hezbollah, which all broadcast news and information with their brand of spin, as demonic CYBER influence peddlers who are corrupting the American national consciousness by engaging in perception management techniques in an attempt to electronically captivate American audiences and turn them, well, to the “dark side.”

Iran’s Press TV Internet traffic statistics show it is ranked 26,598 with 28 percent of its visits coming from the United States.  RT is ranked 446 in the world with 18 percent of its visitors from the US. Sputnik News is 1410 with 8 percent of its visitors from the US.  Xinhua is ranked 25,000 with about 3 percent visiting from the US and the People’s Daily does not even rank.

In this dark CYBER world, the unemployed and disaffected youth bulges (but why are they jobless and disenchanted), social miscreants and American citizens will populate evil foreign websites and after viewing assorted marketing/propaganda they will by Pepsi instead of Coke; whoops, I meant to say join the Islamic State or the Chinese Communist Party; move to Russia; or take in the Hezbollah website (no ranking on the Internet).

What this says, in part, is that those pushing CYBER fear have unwittingly indicted the United States and its people of idiocy. They seem to be saying that the American people have been ill served by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, educational institutions and the government and the citizenry is but a collective of dolts incapable of sorting through information pushed out of non-Western media outlets. In the United States, the First Amendment makes sure that all-points of view can be aired on the premise that the American people have the ability to harvest information and distinguish between info-crap and ‘actionable’ info that can be turned into positive knowledge for civil good.

What is there to fear from comparatively small state backed-foreign news outlets? So they spin news or publish opinions contrary to the US narrative. So what? How is that any different from left and right wing publications in the United States that take down US civilian and military institutions? The American public can handle all of this. The CYBER Fear pushers further display their ignorance by assuming that the US national security machinery has not done enough to protect the enfeebled American public from opinions emanating from non-Western sources. The CYBER chicken-littles believe too, that the US military and those in charge of America’s critical infrastructure sets do not understand the gravity of the CYBER Danger.

Nonsense.

Sleep Well

As the US Army’s Unconventional Warfare Manual and scores of US military CYBER commands,  and doctrinal publications make clear, the US national security community has been pushing the CYBER matter hard. It has engaged in the less public relations friendly issues like mathematics and encryption, physically securing communications nodes and networks, creating honeypots to attract hackers, digital forensics (breaking into secure hard drives, software) and working with civilian counterparts, sometimes controversially, to secure communications networks.

For those worried about the US government’s ability to listen to adversaries, allies, the public, whomever,  the Snowden document dumps show just how deep the National Security Agency’s wormhole goes. Either you’re of the mind that this grossly oversteps the US government’s authority, or maybe the nation is better off with the NSA playing God, or, like most, you just don’t care.

The US capabilities to tap transoceanic communications cables or satellite communications are well known.

The seriousness with which the US national security community views CYBER can be noted in this comment from a Defense Science Board study on CYBER Existentialism

While the manifestation of a nuclear and cyber attack are very different, in the end, the existential impact to the United States is the same. Existential Cyber Attack is defined as an attack that is capable of causing sufficient wide scale damage for the government potentially to lose control of the country, including loss or damage to significant portions of military and critical infrastructure: power generation, communications, fuel and transportation, emergency services, financial services, etc.

And just a quasi authoritative US government body claims there is a real danger of an existential CYBER attack, the First Amendment allows a rapier like response from a former government official musing on the fallout from the collapse of electronically connected networks whether by CYBER Attack, lightening bolts or human error.

Cyber Warfare, Cyber Security and massive Cyber Attacks are alarmist and vastly overrated. Look at what went on in Cyprus in 2013. What could trigger a run on the banks in the United States? Something as simple as shutting down all the ATM’s for three days. The resulting panic and long bank lines could irrevocably shake confidence in banks and financial institutions, as Americans find out the significance of all the paperwork they signed when they established their banks accounts, fed by direct deposits. Since many in the country know what the country was like before personal computers and the Internet, they’ll do fine. Those people who have exchanged their hearts and brains for computer chips manufactured in Vietnam, and are tethered to Smart Phones and the Cloud, are due for a very rude awakening. You’ve heard of sleeper agents and moles haven’t you? I wonder how many sleeper programs are in the millions of computer chips that are now in every single facet of our lives.

The original source of this article is Global Research

Categorized in Internet Privacy

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