A Preview Of Coming Attractions

So much for Homeland Security. From Russia, without love, hitting us where it really hurts.

Foreign hackers targeted U.S. water plant in apparent malicious cyber attack, expert says

Foreign hackers caused a pump at an Illinois water plant to fail last week, according to a preliminary state report. Experts said the cyber-attack, if confirmed, would be the first known to have damaged one of the systems that supply Americans with water, electricity and other essentials of modern life.

Companies and government agencies that rely on the Internet have for years been routine targets of hackers, but most incidents have resulted from attempts to steal information or interrupt the functioning of Web sites. The incident in Springfield, Ill., would mark a departure because it apparently caused physical destruction.

See also:
Was U.S. water utility hacked last week?
Foreign cyber attack hits US infrastructure: expert
Illinois Water Utility Pump Destroyed After Hack
H(ackers)2O: Attack on City Water Station Destroys Pump
Cyberattack investigation centers on Curran-Gardner water pump
Feds investigating whether Illinois “pump failure” was cyber attack
Broken water pump in Illinois caused by cyber-attack from Russia, claims expert, but DOH denies terrorism
Cyberattack on Illinois water utility may confirm Stuxnet warnings
Water utility hackers destroy pump, expert says
UPDATE 3-U.S. probes cyber attack on water system

The SCADA vulnerabilities to a remote attack have been known for years. The solution is real simple, DON’T CONNECT YOUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO THE INTERNET!

/how hard is that, is it going to take a disaster for us to learn this basic lesson?

From China, With Sprinkles

Gee, you’d think there’s be some type of common sense rule about not buying critical electronic components for your military hardware from your enemy, but I guess not.

Fake electronics becoming military danger

“Sprinkling” sounds like a fairly harmless practice, but in the hands of sophisticated counterfeiters it could deceive a major weapons manufacturer and possibly endanger the lives of U.S. troops.

It is a process of mixing authentic electronic parts with fake ones in hopes that the counterfeits will not be detected when companies test the components for multimillion-dollar missile systems, helicopters and aircraft. It was just one of the brazen steps described Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing examining the national security and economic implications of suspect counterfeit electronics — mostly from China — inundating the Defense Department’s supply chain.

See also:
U.S. defense equipment has been outfitted with counterfeit parts from China
Senate Homes in on China’s Role in Counterfeit Parts Entering DOD’s Supply Chain
Senators to Take on Counterfeit Electronic Parts in DOD
US Senators Demand China Crack Down on Suppliers of Fake Military Parts
Officials: Fake weapons parts ‘ticking time bomb’
Officials: Fake weapons parts ‘ticking time bomb’
Opening Statement at SASC Hearing on Counterfeit Electronic Parts in DOD Supply Chain
Fake Chinese weapons costs US millions
Lawmakers says counterfeits flood Pentagon supply
Chinese counterfeit parts found in U.S. weapons
Officials: Fake weapon parts hit Pentagon supplies
Lawmakers describe counterfeit electronic parts flooding into military’s supply chain
Probe traces bogus military parts to China
Report: US military supply chain riddled with shanzhai parts from China
China rejects U.S. charges of bogus weapons parts

It’s bad enough that China steals our intellectual property at will and that we owe them over a trillion dollars, but now they’re deliberately sabotaging our military equipment with fake electronics that, upon failure, could cost the lives of our military service members?

/it’s not a hot war, but it’s not a cold war either and we seem to be losing

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

Is Our Back Door Open?

Gee, I wonder which computer component manufacturing country might be responsible for this? Hmmm, let me think.

(you might want to skip to 51:47)

U.S. Suspects Contaminated Foreign-Made Components Threaten Cyber Security

Some foreign-made computer components are being manufactured to make it easier to launch cyber attacks on U.S. companies and consumers, a security official at the the Department of Homeland Security said.

“I am aware of instances where that has happened,” said Greg Schaffer, who is the Acting Deputy Undersecretary National Protection and Programs Director at the DHS.

Schaffer did not say where specifically these components are coming from or elaborate on how they could be manufactured in such a way as to facilitate a cyber attack.

But Schaffer’s comment confirms that the U.S. government believes some electronics manufacturers have included parts in products that could make U.S. consumers and corporations more vulnerable to targeted cyber attacks.

A device tampered with prior to distribution or sale could act as a “Trojan horse” in the opening wave of an international cyberwar. Contaminated products could be used to jeopardize the entire network.

See also:
DHS: Imported Consumer Tech Contains Hidden Hacker Attack Tools
Tomorrow’s cyberwarfare may be carried out by pre-infected electronics: DHS
Malware Comes with Many Gadgets, Homeland Security Admits
Supply chain security – DHS finds imported software and hardware contain attack tools
U.S. official says pre-infected computer tech entering country
Homeland Security Admits Hidden Malware in Foreign-Made Devices
Homeland Security Finds Your Electronic Device Poses Risks?
Threat of destructive coding on foreign-manufactured technology is real
Homeland Security Official: Some Foreign-Made Electronics Compromise Cybersecurity
White House’s Cyberspace Policy Review (PDF)

So, Mr. Schaffer “did not say where specifically these components are coming from.” Well, here, let me help, it’s obviously China. There, how hard was that? The next question is, what are we doing about it?

Our national power grid, electronics infrastructure, you name it, very few of the critical components are manufactured in the U.S. anymore and if there exists a series of back doors, enabling a hostile country, like China, to preemptively take it all down at once, we’re in serious, catastrophic trouble territory, so far up the proverbial [expletive deleted] creek without a paddle we’re no longer visible. And we’d be down for the count too, because we don’t have the U.S. manufacturing capability to pick ourselves up off the canvas

/the end game scenario this revelation portends would make Pearl Harbor look like a sorority pillow fight

Waddling Back To The Trough

Here comes a squealing Fannie Mae, begging to suck on the taxpayer teat yet again. Hey, I know, let’s throw some more good money after bad.

Fannie Mae Seeks $8.5 Billion in U.S. Aid After Reporting Loss

Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance company operating under U.S. conservatorship, will seek $8.5 billion in Treasury Department aid to balance its books after reporting a $6.5 billion loss in the first quarter.

Fannie Mae is requesting the money to eliminate a net worth deficit of $8.4 billion for the three-month period that ended March 31, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today. The $6.5 billion loss for the quarter compares with an $11.5 billion shortfall in the same period a year ago.

. . .

Fannie Mae’s smaller rival, Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia, posted a $676 million first-quarter profit on May 4. Freddie Mac reported a net worth of $1.2 billion and didn’t request additional aid.

The two companies, which own or guarantee more than half of U.S. single-family mortgages, have drawn more than $160 billion in Treasury aid since September 2008, when they were seized by the federal government amid losses that pushed them to the brink of insolvency.

See also:
Fannie Mae Falls Back Into the Loss Column
Fannie Mae to ask $8.5bn of Treasury
Fannie Mae seeks $8.5 billion from taxpayers
Fannie Mae Posts Deep Loss
Fannie Mae requests additional 8.5 billion dollars in government aid
Fannie’s Friday Earnings Release: $8.7-Billion Loss

And who’s responsible for this financial black hole?

Why are we continuing to prop up this bull[expletive deleted]? Let Fannie Mae fail. How much worse can the housing market get? In fact, the government’s insistence in meddling in the housing market. led by the Democrats, only prolongs the inevitable and prevents the free market from sorting itself out.

/take away the trough, wean Fannie Mae from the taxpayer teat, vote Republican in 2012, it’s the only way to be sure