Caught Stealing . . . Again

I thought cyberattacks were supposed to considered acts of war, how long are we going to just keep bending over for this threat to national security behavior?

Chinese Hackers Target Chemical Companies

Chinese hackers tried to penetrate the computer systems of 48 chemical and military-related companies in a late summer cyber attack to steal design documents, formulas and manufacturing processes, a security firm reported Tuesday.

The attack ran from late July to mid-September and appeared to be aimed at collecting intellectual property for competitive advantage, reported Symantec, which code-named the attack Nitro, because of the chemical industry targets. Hackers went after 29 chemical companies and 19 other businesses that made advanced materials primarily used in military vehicles.

See also:
The Nitro Attacks
Stealing Secrets from the Chemical Industry

Nitro Attack: Points of interest
“Nitro” spear-phishers attacked chemical and defense company R&D
‘Nitro’ Cyber-Spying Campaign Stole Data From Chemical, Defense Companies
‘Nitro’ Hackers Rifle Through Chemical Companies’ Secret Data
Report: Chinese hackers launched summer offensive on US chemical industry
‘Nitro’ Hackers Reportedly Attack Dozens of Companies in Chemical, Defense Industries
Chemicals and defence firms targeted by hacking attack
Dozens of chemical firms hit in espionage hack attack
“Nitro” attacks target 29 firms in chemical sector
‘Nitro’ hackers use stock malware to steal chemical, defense secrets
‘Nitro’ Hackers Steal Chemical Company Secrets
Nitro Malware Targeted Chemical Companies
Cyber attacks on chemical companies traced to China
Cyber Attacks on Chemical Firms Traced to Chinese Computers
Symantec uncovers cyber espionage of chemical, defense firms

You know, if we’re not going to treat these attacks as military in nature, which we should, the least we should do is take action against China for violation of international trade agreements, not to mention international law. For all the ‘fraidy cat, nervous Nellies who are so scared of engaging China in a trade war, what do you call these constant corporate espionage cyberattacks?

/China is not our friend

Keeping Up With The Jetsons

You want a flying car? We got your flying car right here, almost, maybe in a few years.

‘Flying Humvee’ moves ahead

A flying car that’s rugged enough for hardcore off-road driving, able to survive small-arms fire and can quickly take off and land is potentially just a few years shy of reality, according to reports sourced from DARPA, the U.S. military’s future-oriented research arm.

Aerospace companies Lockheed Martin and AAI Corporation have presented “feasible designs” to the military’s Transformer program, reports Aviation Week’s Ares blog, and have advanced to the next phase, which is to begin work on prototypes of the contraptions.




See also:
Is Darpa’s Fly-Drive Transformer on the Right Road?
The ‘flying Humvee’ gets off the ground as U.S. military plans first all-terrain, bullet-proof warcraft by next year
Flying humvee inches closer to reality
DARPA sets target date for testing ‘flying Humvee’
Coming soon: US army four-seater vehicle that can take off and land vertically
Progress to the Flying Humvee and enabling a revolution if door to door air travel up to 400 mile ranges
What’s The Point of Darpa’s ‘Flying Humvee,’ Exactly?
Military Developing Transformer To Solve Problems That Don’t Exist
Pentagon Wants Flying Humvee, For Some Reason
Transformer (TX)
Transformer (flying car)

I’m all for flying cars, but do we really need them for combat? The concept drawings of the Transformer TX makes it look like a huge ordnance magnet that, if it wasn’t blown up transitioning from ground to sky or vice versa, it would have so many complex moving parts that it would be undergoing maintenance for many more hours than it would be available for field use. Look at the trouble we already have keeping the V-22 Osprey in service.

/at a time when budget cutting and deficit reduction is the new national pastime, the Transformer TX would seem to be, in my opinion, a military toy too far

Super Bot

This sure looks like a nasty piece of work.

Massive botnet ‘indestructible,’ say researchers

A new and improved botnet that has infected more than four million PCs is “practically indestructible,” security researchers say.

“TDL-4,” the name for both the bot Trojan that infects machines and the ensuing collection of compromised computers, is “the most sophisticated threat today,” said Kaspersky Labs researcher Sergey Golovanov in a detailed analysis Monday.

“[TDL-4] is practically indestructible,” Golovanov said.

. . .

TDL-4 infects the MBR, or master boot record, of the PC with a rootkit — malware that hides by subverting the operating system. The master boot record is the first sector — sector 0 — of the hard drive, where code is stored to bootstrap the operating system after the computer’s BIOS does its start-up checks.

Because TDL-4 installs its rootkit on the MBR, it is invisible to both the operating system and more, importantly, security software designed to sniff out malicious code.

But that’s not TDL-4’s secret weapon.

What makes the botnet indestructible is the combination of its advanced encryption and the use of a public peer-to-peer (P2P) network for the instructions issued to the malware by command-and-control (C&C) servers.

See also:
TDL4 – Top Bot
Sophisticated TDL-4 Botnet Has 4.5 Million Infected Zombies
‘Indestructible’ rootkit enslaves 4.5m PCs in 3 months
TDL-4 creates 4.5 million PC ‘indestructible’ botnet
Security Researchers Discover the Mother of All Botnets
TDL-4: The ‘indestructible’ botnet?
There’s a Botnet Called TDL-4 That’s Virtually Indestructable
‘Indestructible’ Botnet Enslaves 4.5 Million PCs
‘Indestructible’ Zombie PC Botnet Borrows Exploit From Israeli, U.S. Cyberweapon
Have cybercriminals created the perfect botnet — undetectable and indestructible?

If you ever needed a reason and reminder to keep your operating system, anti-virus, and anti-spywware software patched and up to date, this would be a good one.

/remember, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re potentially part of the problem

Meanwhile, Back At The Nuclear Clown Rodeo

The IAEA sends Iran a strongly worded letter and, predictably, like clockwork, Iran tells the IAEA to shove their letter up their collective ass.

Iran to move its most sensitive nuclear equipment to bunker

Iran is moving production of higher enriched uranium to a mountain bunker where it aims to triple output by using more advanced centrifuges, state television reported Wednesday.

Iran says the announcement is a response to a letter by Yukiya Amano, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday, which reiterated “concerns about the possible military dimensions” of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.

“Our answer is increased work in the sphere of nuclear technology and know-how,” Iran’s nuclear chief Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

See also:
Iran to Triple Higher-Enriched Uranium Production
Iran To Enrich Triple Uranium Enrichment Capacity
Defiant Iran plans big rise in nuclear enrichment
IAEA should end political disputes over Iran’s nuclear program: Soltanieh
Iran Said to Plan Nuclear Fuel Production Increase
Iran’s Nuclear Program, Charging Ahead
Goodspeed: Iran may be two months from bomb, two new studies say
RAND: Deterring Iran unlikely, but opportunities exist
France labels Iran’s further uranium enrichment “provocation”
Iran Swiftly Dismissed Amano’s Latest Whistle Blowing Report
Iran urges IAEA to meet commitments

Okay, we’ve waited and waited and waited and done nothing concrete or effective to stop Iran’s nuclear program and now it’s too late. At this point, not even military action can likely stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

/Obama was too busy golfing and couldn’t be reached for comment

Slip Slidin’ Away

Gee, the weasel politicians in Washington continue to abdicate their responsibility and keep kicking the can down the road and the Social Security and Medicare insolvency problem keeps getting worse year after year. Go figure.

Financial Outlook Worsens for Social Security, Medicare

Social Security and Medicare’s annual checkup found that the entitlement system continues to face long-term financial challenges. The Social Security trust fund is expected to be exhausted in 2036, one year sooner than was projected last year. And the date Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund is projected to be depleted has advanced up to 2024, five years earlier than in last year’s report. Once those dates pass, there will only be sufficient resources coming in to pay out about 77 percent of scheduled Social Security benefits and 90 percent of retirees hospital insurance costs, unless changes are made to the program.

Read the Medicare trustees’ report:

2011 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BOARDS OF TRUSTEES OF THE FEDERAL HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTARY MEDICAL INSURANCE TRUST FUNDS

See also:
Social Security Board of Trustees: Projected Trust Fund Exhaustion
One Year Sooner

Outlook Worsening for Social Security, Medicare, Trustees Say
New report warns Social Security, Medicare could run out of money even earlier than feared
Outlook for Social Security, Medicare Poor: Trustees
Medicare could run out of money sooner than previously predicted
Bleaker outlook for Social Security, Medicare
Outlook for Medicare, Social Security worsens
Government: How bad is the news about Social Security?
Medicare and Social Security Trustees report: Capitol Hill reaction
Medicare funds will be depleted in 13 years, report says

And, since we’re already into the 2012 election cycle, I wouldn’t expect Obama or Congress to step up and have the courage to make the hard, politically unpopular decisions that will have to be made in order to put Medicare and Social Security back on the path to solvency. Just look at how Paul Ryan is already being attacked for lucidly speaking truth to the demagogues. And so, next year, there’ll be another report telling us that the insolvency problem for Medicare and Social Security has gotten even worse.

/seriously, you didn’t really think you were going to collect Medicare and Social Security benefits, did you?