Article 43

 

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Welcome

Welcome to article43.com - a memorial to the layed off workers of (PRE SBC MERGER) AT&T, and the disappearing MIDDLE CLASS citizens of America.  It is NOT endorsed or affiliated with AT&T or the CWA in any way.

This sticky post was written the day we appeared on the internet in 2004.

In addition to INFORMATION, resources and opinion for former AT&T workers DEALING WITH the EFFECTS OF LAYOFF and looking for meaningful employment, some articles here are meant to bring into awareness the LARGER PICTURE of corporate dominance of the UNITED STATES’ political and economic policies which brazenly DISREGARDS, disrespects and EXPLOITS worker, citizen and HUMAN RIGHTS under masks like FREE TRADE and the PATRIOT ACT - resulting in a return to a society of very rich and very poor dominated by a few very rich and powerful - whose voices are anything but - for the people. If left UNCHALLENGED, the self-serving interests of those in control may result in the end of DEMOCRACY, the end of the middle class, irreversible ENVIRONMENTAL damage to the planet, and widespread global poverty brought on by exploitation and supression of the voices of common people EVERYWHERE, while the United States turns into a REINCARNATION of the ROMAN EMPIRE.  Author Thom Hartmann shares some history and outlines some basic steps to return our country to “The People” in his two articles TEN STEPS TO RETURN TO DEMOCRACY and SAVING THE MIDDLE CLASS. I support CERNIG’S idea for a new POLITICAL MOVEMENT - if not a revolution to cleanse our country of the filth ruling it - as we EVOLVE into a GLOBAL community - assuming we learn the THE LESSONS OF OUR TIME and don’t DESTROY CIVILIZATION first.

Everything here can be viewed anonymously.  Inserting or commenting on articles requires a free user account (for former AT&T employees with a real, non throw-away, email address.) Requests to the new user registration page are redirected to BLOGGED DOT COM’S site because most new signups I get are from COMMENT SPAMMERS and their ilk, so if you want to contribute, contact me through email, phone, or some other way.

There’s no third-party scripts here like privacy-eroding WEB COUNTERS, hidden datamining widgets like Pay-Pal donation boxes, or AMAZON DOT COM tracking stuff.  The RSS feeds are pulled by the server, and have no relation to anything you may be doing here.  Standard Apache WEB LOGS of info like IP, and pages visited are rotated every few days, and used internally to check the web server’s performance.  Logs of suspicious activity may be shared with law enforcement, or other ISPs, to deal with troublemakers.  Nothing here is for sale, and donations are not solicited.

If you get an email that claims to be from somebody here that’s anything but a request to post your article, or report suspicious activity (like logs sent to an ISP to report an attack) - it’s SPAM. I do not, and will not - ever - join the junk mail sender community. There are no mechanisms to prevent anyone from forging anyone elses email address in a “from” or “reply-to” mail header. For those of us whose email addresses are fraudently used, the best we can do is filter out NDR REPORTS.

Per U.S.C. COPYRIGHT LAW - TITLE 17, SECTION 107, this not-for-profit site may reproduce copyrighted material not specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such articles will either have a web link to the source, home page, and/or show credit to the author.  If yours is here and you have a problem with that, send me an EMAIL, and I’ll take it off. Stuff I wrote carries a CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE permitting non-commercial sharing. In addition, this site’s owner forbids insertion and injecting data of any kind - especially advertisements - into ours by any person or entity.  Should you see a commercial ad that looks like it’s from here, please report it by sending me a tcpdump and/or screenshot in an EMAIL, then READ UP about how the PARTNERING OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS and companies like NEBUAD are DESTROYING INTERNET PRIVACY

Resumes of layed off AT&T workers are posted for free HERE.

Information on the Pension Class Action Lawsuit against AT&T is HERE.  More pension-related articles are HERE.

Links to some Telecom companies’ career pages are HERE.

Click HERE to learn a little about Article 43 and why I loathe the CWA.
Click HERE or HERE to learn what the CWA did when given a chance to do the right thing.
Click HERE for a glimpse of undemocratic and hypocritical CWA practices.
Click HERE for an article on Corporate Unionism.
Click HERE for an article of AFL-CIO’s undemocratic history.

If you’re looking for telco nostalgia, you won’t find it here.  Check out THE CENTRAL OFFICE, BELL SYSTEM MEMORIAL, MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATIONS, TELEPHONE TRIBUTE, and THE READING WORKS websites instead.

This site can disappear anytime if I run out of money to pay for luxuries like food, health care, or internet service.

Discernment of truth is left to the reader - whose encouraged to seek as much information as possible, from as many different sources as possible - and pass them through his/her own filters - before believing anything.

...the Devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men…
- Fox Mulder, X Files

No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.
- John F. Kennedy

Today my country, your country and the Earth face a corporate holocaust against human and Earthly rights. I call their efforts a holocaust because when giant corporations wield human rights backed by constitutions and the law (and therefore enforced by police, the courts, and armed forces) and sanctioned by cultural norms, the rights of people, other species and the Earth are annihilated.
- Richard L. Grossman

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- Albert Einstein

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
- Aquinas

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.
- Benjamin Franklin

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.
- Albert Einstein

Solidarity has always been key to political and economic advance by working families, and it is key to mastering the politics of globalization.
- Thomas Palley

Update 8/11/07 - As we head into the next depression, fueled by selfish corporate greed, and a corrupt, SOCIOPATHIC US government, MIKE WHITNEY has a solution that makes a lot of sense to me:

The impending credit crisis cant be avoided, but it could be mitigated by taking radical steps to soften the blow. Emergency changes to the federal tax code could put more money in the hands of maxed-out consumers and keep the economy sputtering along while efforts are made to curtail the ruinous trade deficit. We should eliminate the Social Security tax for any couple making under $60, 000 per year and restore the 1953 tax-brackets for Americans highest earners so that the upper 1%-- who have benefited the most from the years of prosperity---will be required to pay 93% of all earnings above the first $1 million income. At the same time, corporate profits should be taxed at a flat 35%, while capital gains should be locked in at 35%. No loopholes. No exceptions.

Congress should initiate a program of incentives for reopening American factories and provide generous sufbsidies to rebuild US manufacturing. The emphasis should be on reestablishing a competitive market for US exports while developing the new technologies which will address the imminent problems of environmental degradation, global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, resource scarcity, disease and food production. Off-shoring of American jobs should be penalized by tariffs levied against the offending industries.

The oil and natural gas industries should be nationalized with the profits earmarked for vocational training, free college tuition, universal health care and improvements to then nations infrastructure.

Posted by Admin on 09/05/04 •

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

AC Phone Home

snooping on your pc

I got a new HONEYWELL THERMOSTAT for the air conditioner that has internet connectivity for remote access, and pulls a weather report.

Like everything IOT- it INSISTS ON A MIDDLEMAN - them - possibly peeking at the things connected to my network, and who knows WHAT ELSE:

The Internet has been around for around 20 years now, and its security is far from perfect. Hacker groups still ruthlessly take advantage of these flaws, despite spending billions on tech security. The IoT, on the other hand, is primitive. And so is its security.

Once everything we do, say, think, and eat, is tracked, the big data thats available about each of us is immensely valuable. When companies know our lives inside and out, they can use that data to make us buy even more stuff. Once they control your data, they control you.

Why can’t I just VPN into the house and connect to it that way?

Because then they can’t SNOOP.

Furthermore their EULA SAYS:

We may use your Contact Information to market Honeywell and third-party products and services to you via various methods

We also use third parties to help with certain aspects of our operations, which may require disclosure of your Consumer Information to them.

Honeywell uses industry standard web ANALYTICS to track web visits, Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.

GOOGLE and Adobe may also TRANSFER this INFORMATION to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s or Adobe’s behalf.

You acknowledge and agree that Honeywell and its affiliates, service providers, suppliers, and dealers are permitted at any time and without prior notice to remotely push software

collection and use of certain information as described in this Privacy Statement, including the transfer of this information to the United States and/or other countries for storage

Wonderful.

I connected it to the LAN without asking it to get the weather - or signing up for anything at HONEYWELL’S SITE.

As fast as I can turn my head to peek at the firewall - it started to go out on the internet, and crapped out with some SSL error:

‘SSL_PROTO_REJECT: 48: 192.168.0.226:61492 -> 199.62.84.151:443’
‘SSL_PROTO_REJECT: 48: 192.168.0.226:65035 -> 199.62.84.152:443’
‘SSL_PROTO_REJECT: 48: 192.168.0.226:55666 -> 199.62.84.153:443’

Maybe the website has a problem:

# curl -sslv2 199.62.84.151:443
* About to connect() to 199.62.84.151 port 443 (#0)
* Trying 199.62.84.151… connected
* Connected to 199.62.84.151 (199.62.84.151) port 443 (#0)
> GET / HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.19.7 (i386-redhat-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.19.7 NSS/3.27.1 zlib/1.2.3 libidn/1.18 libssh2/1.4.2
> Host: 199.62.84.151:443
> Accept: */*
>
* Closing connection #0
* Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -sslv3 199.62.84.151:443
* About to connect() to 199.62.84.151 port 443 (#0)
* Trying 199.62.84.151… connected
* Connected to 199.62.84.151 (199.62.84.151) port 443 (#0)
> GET / HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.19.7 (i386-redhat-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.19.7 NSS/3.27.1 zlib/1.2.3 libidn/1.18 libssh2/1.4.2
> Host: 199.62.84.151:443
> Accept: */*
>
* Closing connection #0
* Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -tlsv1 199.62.84.151:443
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -tlsv1.0 199.62.84.151:443
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -tlsv1.1 199.62.84.151:443
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -tlsv1.2 199.62.84.151:443
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl 199.62.84.151:80
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

Then I pulled the plug.  Even if Honeywell’s website is broke - I still fear this thermostat will find a way to download software, and maybe START SPYING ON MY HOME NETWORK:

The US intelligence chief has acknowledged for the first time that agencies might use a new generation of smart household devices to increase their surveillance capabilities.

Maybe, someday I’ll firewall off HONEYWELL’S NETBLOCKS, connect it again, see where it goes.

For now - I’m too AFRAID:

When the cybersecurity industry warns about the nightmare of hackers causing blackouts, the scenario they describe typically entails an elite team of hackers breaking into the inner sanctum of a power utility to start flipping switches. But one group of researchers has imagined how an entire power grid could be taken down by hacking a less centralized and protected class of targets: home air conditioners and water heaters.

Posted by Elvis on 08/16/18 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Democratic Socialism

flag-ani.gif

Why Americans Struggle to Understand Social Democracy
What Social Democracy and Socialism Are  And Aren’t

By Umair
Eudaimonia
August 15, 2018

I chuckle every time I hear it - which is every day, lately. “Denmark isn’t socialism! France isn’t socialist!! There’s no socialism in Europe!” So say American elites, pundits, columnists, usually men with earnest glasses. Have they been smoking too much capitalism?

They’re reacting to the dire prospect of socialism like priests who just met the devil - only the devil was busy saving souls from hell. They don’t quite know what to do with that. How to process it. They don’t even understand, funnily enough, just like those priests, whether or not to even call it “the devil” anymore. Hence: “Nothing’s socialism!! Nope!! how else to square the prospect of socialism rising amongst young Americans, except by denying it exists?” “That’s not the devil!! - thats just another cowboy!!”

The devil, my friends, is the devil. Only maybe he was never the monster you thought. Lets dispel a few myths.

Social democracy isn’t the cartoonish Cold War caricature of socialism (hence, Americans don’t understand it well.) America’s weary, Red Scare caricature of socialism - a bunch of bearded Marxist-Leninist intellectuals, all of whom look like Che Guevara in berets, sipping coffee on the Left Bank, plotting the violent global overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat, debating abstruse theories of the “means of production” and the “fraternity of labor,” which will lead inevitably to global communist revolution, under a single world government. If that’s what you mean by socialism - in other words, ideas from the 1850s, spoken by men in the 1950s - its true to say that social democracy isn’t that. But is that what socialism really is at all, in any senseʢ
 this cartoon villain?

Without socialism, life as you know it wouldn’t exist. You already know socialism. Socialism is your favourite park, school library. Its the time you spend there. It’s the people who work there. You like socialism. Socialism is your friend.

Think about in the opposite sense. Imagine we were back in 18th century London, Amsterdam, or Paris. If we’d obeyed modern-day American economics, where would these cities have ended up? Without sewers, pipes, parks, avenues, squares, or even gutters, probably. And yet Flint doesn’t have potable drinking water. Do you see my point? American thought lives in a fantasyland - socialism is the devil!! And yet, modern life as we know would cease to exist overnight without it. You’d be taking out a honeybucket every morning - not flushing a toilet (gross, right?) In that sense, you already know socialism, intimately - and you’ve known it all your life. It isn’t the bizarre Stalinesque, Leninist caricature of the Cold War. Its just everyday life.

(It’s deeply inaccurate, as American thinkers are trying to do these days, to say that all the things above are just redistribution.Ӕ Your public library is eminently not just stuff that was redistributed from the rich, to you. It’s a genuine form of public investment. The labour, the work, the design, the bricks, the pipes, the shelves, the books - these things are what people invested in together. There wasn’t some rich dude they took it from. They reap the benefits together, too. There are rules to make sure no one walks off with all the books, sure - but no one has a right to stop anyone else from using the library. Your public library, parks, and schools, are indeed socialism. And you probably cherish and value them, too.)

Social democracy began as socialism. Just in part, not in whole. Today, its evolved far beyond the Cold War caricature of Marxist-Leninist “socialism.” Social democracy in the simplest sense just means a system that’s partially, not fully, socialist. Now, American thinkers will go on denying this until the cows come home - remember those priests? But the fact is that “social democracy” was born of Marxism. In the late 1800s, after the age of revolutions in 1848, Marxism split up into a few camps. The hardcore still foresaw a need for (violent, sudden) revolution, which would bring about worldwide socialism. But the other camp called for a gradual transition to socialism - one country, one institution within a country, one system, like a healthcare or school system - one step at a time. This was what came to be called social democracy. But for precisely that reason, not to call social democracy socialism - as if they were somehow distinct entities, events, or ideas - is deeply historically, politically, and economically inaccurate, the kind of doublespeak for which Americas now famous, and which leaves Americans foolish. It’s not Leninism (global revolution!), its not Stalinism (the communist party!), it’s not Trotskyism (revolution, comrades, now!) but it is a kind of socialism. A gentler kind. That’s OK. So are the pipes in your house.

Social democracy is so far ahead of American capitalism now its like alien technology to a Stone Age tribe - which is why Americans struggle to understand it. Nobody today, though, really, in a social democracy - except maybe the few hardcore Marxists still left - is sitting around discussing the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeoisie, in a sudden, violent global revolution, after which everyone sings the Internationale, at the inauguration of Global Communism. Can we get real?

Social democracy has gone way, way beyond all that. These days, its something like the world’s most advanced operating system for human progress - full of strange, awesome, profound new ideas, about how to govern, manage, own, and run societies, which are so far ahead, that America simply can’t understand them with obsolete American ideas, like “shareholder value” and “individual responsibility” and 401Ks, all of which are simply now decades behind - and especially not with Cold War caricatures. It’s the most sophisticated and successful set of economic and social ideas and institutions human beings have ever created, which have led to the best - longest lived, happiest, safest, wealthiest - lives ever, full, stop, period, in all of history. What are some of those ideas?

Social democracy goes (way) beyond old-world notions of socialism. It means public goods are held in trust for the very people they are used by - not “state ownership” of the means of production. Socialism’s often said to mean state ownership of the “means of production.” What does that even mean? Have you ever thought about it? This isn’t 1868, my friends. The economy isn’t made of factories and clanking machines anymore. What are the “means of production,” these days, anyways? Server farms?

For just that reason, social democracy does indeed involve public ownership - but not of the “means of production,” really. Of basic public goods. Healthcare, education, transportation, energy, media, and so on. These aren’t really “means of production,” in the old Marxist sense - factories oppressing the proletariat. The modern variant of social democracy is about providing exactly those things which everyone needs, but capitalism cannot provide at low enough cost, or high enough quality.

So it’s not the “means of productionm” really, which are socialized - but public goods. And it’s not the “state” which owns them, either. Have you ever wondered what “state ownership” even is? What does it mean? The problem is that it never really meant anything at all - and so it could mean anything. Hence, dictators quickly rose to the top of purely socialist societies, like Stalin. But in modern social democracy, rather than the “means of production” owned by the state, public goods are owned by the people that use them - more accurately . They are held in trust, usually, by cities, towns, regions, and so forth. That means that they genuinely belong to everyone - not just some “council” or party committee, which was often the problem in Soviet style socialism - and yet no single person or actor can skim off their benefits for themselves.

The “means of production,” where they still exist, in the traditional sense, factories and so on, like in Germany, aren’t “socialized” so much in the sense of ownership, but in the sense of management - their workers sit on boards. It’s a vivid example of how the idea that “socialism” can mean something apart from “oh no, they’re taking our property rights!!” and go far beyond what Americans can understand given old, obsolete ideas.

Social democracy has grown because capitalism is becoming obsolete. It lets people realize themselves to a vastly higher degree than capitalism alone. Now, the part that Marx left out of the means of production are owned by the “state” was about purpose. When the means of production were owned by the state, what would the point be? Who’d define it? He didn’t say. Apparently, the proletariat would figure that part out when they got there. And that brings me to my final point.

Public goods each have a different social purpose, which can be maximized under social democracy - but capitalism is only ever one-dimensional. The purpose of a healthcare system is health. Duh, you might say. But the purpose of a healthcare system in capitalism is profit. Hence, American life expectancy falling. The purpose of an education system is knowledge. But the purpose of an education system in capitalism is debt and degree farming. Hence, Americans are getting dumber. Do you see the problem? Capitalist institutions simply are not flexible, functional, or usable enough to build genuinely prosperous societies with anymore. Let me put that another way.

Capitalism is obsolete because it is too blunt a tool with which to build a working society. You can’t build a house with only a chainsaw - at least not a very nice one. You need different tools, for all your many tasks. The same is true of a society. If capitalism’s the only tool you have - you’ll never be able to build a working healthcare, education, financial system, to name just a few, because those things cannot be run just in the old binary of “for profit” or “not for profit.” They must each be run for a different set of human outcomes, far beyond that tired dichotomy - health, life expectancy, knowledge, intelligence, savings, security, investment, and so forth.

Now, so far, in human history, only, really, under social democracy have we learned to construct such institutions best. We can build organizations, whose ownership is held in trust by communities, with explicit, specific goals, such as human health. That’s the modern day NHS. But we can never accomplish any of this under capitalism - we can only use the old model of shareholders owning an organization which is run either for or not for profit. That either serves shareholders with profit - or no one, really, at all. That doesn’t help us one bit when it comes to genuinely building systems which realize human potential.

So you should see the rise of social democracy in America - or at least the slender possibility of it - as an eminently good thing. Just as Russia was the last nation to accept capitalism, so America is the last one to accept socialism. Today, its capitalism that’s becoming obsolete, for obvious reasons. Meaningless, stagnation, misery, rage, despair, greed, ruin. Social democracy is alien technology to Stone Age men.

Or, if you like… if the devil’s saving souls, maybe he’s not the prince of hell. Maybe it was the other guy, all along.

SOURCE

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Explaining Socialism To A Republican

By Nurse Pam
Addicting Info
June 23, 2012

I was talking recently with a new friend who Im just getting to know. She tends to be somewhat conservative, while I lean more toward the progressive side.

When our conversation drifted to politics, somehow the dreaded word socialism came up. My friend seemed totally shocked when I said All socialism isn’t bad.  She became very serious and replied “So you want to take money away from the rich and give to the poor?” I smiled and said “No, not at all.  Why do you think socialism means taking money from the rich and giving to the poor?”

“Well it is, isn’t it?” was her reply.

I explained to her that I rather liked something called Democratic Socialism, just as Senator Bernie Sanders, talk show host Thom Hartman, and many other people do. Democratic Socialism consists of a democratic form of government with a mix of socialism and capitalism. I proceeded to explain to her the actual meaning terms democracy and socialism.

Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens take part. It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Socialism is where we all put our resources together and work for the common good of us all and not just for our own benefit. In this sense, we are sharing the wealth within society.

Of course when people hear that term, “Share the wealth” they start screaming, “OMG you want to rob from the rich and give it all to the poor!” But that is NOT what Democratic Socialism means.

To a Democratic Socialist, sharing the wealth means pooling tax money together to design social programs that benefit ALL citizens of that country, city, state, etc.

The fire and police departments are both excellent examples of Democratic Socialism in America.  Rather than leaving each individual responsible for protecting their own home from fire, everyone pools their money together, through taxes, to maintain a fire and police department. It’s operated under a non-profit status, and yes, your tax dollars pay for putting out other peoples fires. It would almost seem absurd to think of some corporation profiting from putting out fires.  But it’s more efficient and far less expensive to have government run fire departments funded by tax dollars.

Similarly, public education is another social program in the USA. It benefits all of us to have a taxpayer supported, publicly run education system. Unfortunately, in America, the public education system ends with high school.  Most of Europe now provides low cost or free college education for their citizens. This is because their citizens understand that an educated society is a safer, more productive and more prosperous society. Living in such a society, everyone benefits from public education.

When an American graduates from college, they usually hold burdensome debt in the form of student loans that may take 10 to even 30 years to pay off. Instead of being able to start a business or invest in their career, the college graduate has to send off monthly payments for years on end.

On the other hand, a new college graduate from a European country begins without the burdensome debt that an American is forced to take on. The young man or woman is freer to start up businesses, take an economic risk on a new venture, or invest more money in the economy, instead of spending their money paying off student loans to for-profit financial institutions.  Of course this does not benefit wealthy corporations, but it does greatly benefit everyone in that society.

EXAMPLE American style capitalistic program for college: If you pay (average) $20,000 annually for four years of college, that will total $80,000 + interest for student loans. The interest you would owe could easily total or exceed the $80,000 you originally borrowed, which means your degree could cost in excess of $100,000.

EXAMPLE European style social program for college: Your college classes are paid for through government taxes.  When you graduate from that college and begin your career, you also start paying an extra tax for fellow citizens to attend college.

Question - You might be thinking how is that fair? If youre no longer attending college, why would you want to help everyone else pay for their college degree?

Answer - Every working citizen pays a tax that is equivalent to say, $20 monthly.  If you work for 40 years and then retire, you will have paid $9,600 into the Social college program.  So you could say that your degree ends up costing only $9,600. When everyone pools their money together and the program is non-profit, the price goes down tremendously. This allows you to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Health care is another example: If your employer does not provide health insurance, you must purchase a policy independently.  The cost will be thousands of dollars annually, in addition to deductible and co-pays.

In Holland, an individual will pay around $35 monthly, period.  Everyone pays into the system and this helps reduce the price for everyone, so they get to keep more of their hard earned cash.

In the United States we are told and frequently reminded that anything run by the government is bad and that everything should be operated by for-profit companies. Of course, with for-profit entities the cost to the consumer is much higher because they have corporate executives who expect compensation packages of tens of millions of dollars and shareholders who expect to be paid dividends, and so on.

This (and more) pushes up the price of everything, with much more money going to the already rich and powerful, which in turn, leaves the middle class with less spending money and creates greater class separation.

This economic framework makes it much more difficult for average Joes to Ҕlift themselves up by their bootstraps and raise themselves to a higher economic standing.

So next time you hear the word “socialism” and “spreading the wealth” in the same breath, understand that this is a serious misconception.

Social programs require tax money and your taxes may be higher. But as you can see everyone benefits because other costs go down and, in the long run, you get to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Democratic Socialism does NOT mean taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  It works to benefit everyone so the rich can no longer take advantage of the poor and middle class.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/16/18 •
Section American Solidarity
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Monday, August 13, 2018

Bad Moon Rsing Part 71 - Chinese Super Weapons

image chinese submarine

Chinese superweapons that the world needs to know about

By David Cohen
Anonymous
August 12, 2018

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Chinese military faced several major issues. The primary issue during this time was where they were going to get their military hardware and technology from.

Up until this time, the Soviet Union was the primary source for Chinese weapons and hardware. Although there were some locally made Chinese weapons, most of its AK-47s as well as their fighter aircraft were made and produced in the Soviet Union.

The Iron Curtain fell and China realized that it was far behind many industrialized nations in many respects. As the country with the largest population on the planet, the Chinese needed to come up with ways in which to modernize both their economy as well as their military, and fast.

So they started their own military programs to create helicopters, tanks, missiles, ships, and weapons. They did this both by using their own ingenuity as well as hacking into the mainframes of militaries around the world in order to steal information and build their own version of whatever they needed.

Slowly but surely, China began to raise its military profile. Now along with an enormous army full of soldiers (the number of Chinese soldiers exceeds the number of inhabitants of many countries), the Chinese military has also modernized to a huge degree.

Now, as a rising regional power with potential global ambitions, the Chinese are threatening United States supremacy in south east Asia. They are flexing their new found muscle in trying to project their power over islands in Japan, the Philippines, and of course their main rival Taiwan.

This power projection is being made possible by a renewal of the Chinese navy as well as vast locally made improvements to the Chinese Air Force, coupled with Chinese nuclear second strike capability.

So what do these Chinese future weapons look like?

Type 094 submarine

This submarine was first spotted in 2006 in satellite images of the Xiaopingdao Submarine Base, and almost nothing is known about it. What is known however was leaked from classified documents. This type exceeds the capabilities of the Type 092 submarine, and gives China the possibility for a sea based nuclear strike. The submarines can hold up to four intercontinental cruise missiles which can all be tipped with nuclear warheads (3 or 4 of them, as reported). This is part of China’s nuclear triad, which consists of land based, air based, and now sea based nuclear weapons. The existence of this submarine now means that China has second strike capabilities.

Type 054A Frigate

The Type 054A frigate entered service back in 2007, and is a development of the existing Type 054 frigate, but with better sensors and improved weapons. Currently, 26 of these are in service. This Chinese frigate class has a whole wealth of capabilities to defend the Chinese homeland from seaborne threats. It has anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles, and also has a Chinese adaptation of the Russian Buk surface to air missile. These frigates have already seen action in patrolling the Gulf of Aden for Somali pirates. They were also deployed to Libya to help evacuated Chinese nationals stranded there, as well as helped to ferry chemical weapons out of Syria.

Harbin Z-19

This is essentially a Chinese copy of a Eurocopter Dauphin, and it is China’s primary combat helicopter. With a 430 mile range as well as a high rate of climb, these deadly helicopters are able to carry a whole wealth of different armaments. They can carry everything from anti-ship missiles, anti-personnel missiles, and even anti-tank missiles. The helicopter also has whisper rotors and an exhaust system which confuses heat seeking missiles.

Jiaolong

The Chinese are now one of five countries who have the technology to be able to develop a deep sea submersible capable of going to the deepest depths of the ocean floor. This submersible is able to do tons of planet saving research, but can also be used to sabotage undersea cables. Or the Chinese could decide that they want to awaken that mysterious sleeping giant, Cthulhu. Hopefully they just use it for research purposes.

Xian H-6

This is a Chinese copy of a Soviet Tupolev TU-16 bomber, and despite its long service history, it is still a plane which poses a threat to neighboring powers and is a key component in Chinese power projection. It is able to carry all sorts of missiles and bombs, including nuclear weapons. The plane has a range of 3,700 miles, putting many NATO bases in range, as well as many bases of ASEAN countries.

J-20

The Chengdu J-20 is Chinas first homemade, fifth generation multi-role fighter jet. It is believed that plans for the F-35 were stolen by China in a massive cybersecurity hack and they were able to obtain the technology to build their own version. This can be seen in the physical similarities between the two aircraft. The plane aims to create Chinese air superiority in the region as it has a maximum speed of 1,300 miles per hour.

J-11

This Chinese fighter jet is the workhorse of the Chinese Air Force with over 250 in active duty service. Designed based off of the Soviet Sukhoi Su-27, this plane can go over twice the speed of sound and fly at over 65,000 feet. Flying so fast and so high, this Chinese fighter plane was designed with the sole purpose of being able to take over the skies in any military confrontation the Chinese military might have.

DF-5 ICBM

The DF-5 is the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM for short) with the longest range in the Chinese arsenal. This missile is able to carry out a nuclear strike anywhere on the planet (except for South America according to some estimates). Despite the fact that there are only an estimated 20 of these missiles in the Chinese arsenal, they still can take out 20 major enemy cities, with New York City, Los Angeles, London, and Moscow all well within range.

PLZ-45 Howitzer

This self propelled artillery gun is able to fire a 155 mm projectile over 18 miles at enemy defenses and troops. It has an extremely advanced fire control system which uses laser range finders, and has the ability to use smart artillery rounds which are able to change flight path mid-air. The PLZ-45 has already proven itself in battle, having been used by the Saudi Arabians and the Kuwaitis in their war in Yemen.

Xian H-20

This is a stealth bomber which is currently being designed, built and tested by the Chinese Air Force. An almost direct copy of the American B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, this Chinese bomber is being developed in order to be able to go on long range strategic bombing missions and fly well past Japan. This would extend ChinaҒs strategic reach, and make the entire game of global policy that much more difficult.

Xian Y-20

This cargo aircraft is used by the Chinese military in order to ferry goods and soldiers to anywhere in China at a moments notice. Perhaps most interestingly, many of the planeҒs parts were created using a 3D printer, thereby drastically lowering the cost of production. The plane can carry up to 66 tons, and when filled with troops, has a range of 6,200 miles, enabling this plane to reach anywhere in Asia.

Type 052D destroyer

This Chinese destroyer can be seen patrolling waters all around China as well as infringing on the territorial waters of several other countries. The destroyer has the ability to launch a whole wealth of weapons, ranging from surface to air missiles, cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles, and even anti-submarine missiles. China currently has about eight of these ships in active duty with a further three more undergoing sea trials.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Chinese military faced several major issues. The primary issue during this time was where they were going to get their military hardware and technology from.

Up until this time, the Soviet Union was the primary source for Chinese weapons and hardware. Although there were some locally made Chinese weapons, most of its AK-47*s as well as their fighter aircraft were made and produced in the Soviet Union.

The Iron Curtain fell and China realized that it was far behind many industrialized nations in many respects. As the country with the largest population on the planet, the Chinese needed to come up with ways in which to modernize both their economy as well as their military, and fast.

So they started their own military programs to create helicopters, tanks, missiles, ships, and weapons. They did this both by using their own ingenuity as well as hacking into the mainframes of militaries around the world in order to steal information and build their own version of whatever they needed.

Slowly but surely, China began to raise its military profile. Now along with an enormous army full of soldiers (the number of Chinese soldiers exceeds the number of inhabitants of many countries), the Chinese military has also modernized to a huge degree.

Now, as a rising regional power with potential global ambitions, the Chinese are threatening United States supremacy in south east Asia. They are flexing their new found muscle in trying to project their power over islands in Japan, the Philippines, and of course their main rival Taiwan.

This power projection is being made possible by a renewal of the Chinese navy as well as vast locally made improvements to the Chinese Air Force, coupled with Chinese nuclear second strike capability.

J-16

This joint strike fighter plane was introduced into the Chinese Air Force in 2013 and relatively little is known about it. It is apparent that it is meant to be similar to the F-15 and that it can carry anti-ship missiles, air to ground missiles, and even air to air missiles. The fighter jet is able to fly at speeds of up to twice the speed of sound, and can go up to 58,000 feet in the air.

HQ-17

This is a surface to air missile which was almost completely copied from the types of missiles in use by the Soviet Union at the end of the cold war. However, this Chinese variant has an electronically scanned radar array, as well as the ability to launch in any and all terrains. The surface to air missile is even able to link up to other Chinese systems, creating an integrated air defense system.

JL-2

The JL-2 is a submarine launched intercontinental cruise missile. It can be launched stealthily from anywhere in the world at any time with little to no advance warning. The missile has such a large range that, should it be shot off from somewhere close to the Chinese mainland, it would be able to hit any target in California, Europe, or Australia. These missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

SW-6 UAV

This drone may look like a drone now, but it is actually shot out of a moving aircraft. It is more or less a combination drone-missile. It is designed to be fired from the underwing of a rotor or fixed wing aircraft, unfold in mid-air, and then fly around until the operator finds a suitable target. The UAV can be used for a variety of purposes, from radar and electronics jamming to being able to deliver a 10 pound warhead into a specific area.

CH-500

This dual rotor unmanned aerial vehicle is equipped with two laser guided air to ground missiles. Designed to be a cheap weapon, this drone can be quickly deployed by Chinese ground forces and be used to take out enemies behind front lines, in hills and valleys, or even in urban environments, being able to shoot through windows if the need arises. They can also take out enemy tanks with ease.

CH-805

This flying wing designed drone is officially only going to be used to test Chinese radar and air defenses along with radar systems inside Chinas new indigenous fifth generation fighter planes. The drone can reach near supersonic speeds, and provides a difficult target to track. However, due to this low radar signature, there is a worry that this drone my in the end be used operationally, posing a challenge to enemy forces.

Harbin Z-19

The Harbin Z-19 is ChinaҒs new and improved version of its Z-9, the countrys primary attack helicopter. The helicopter has whisper rotors, making the helicopter quite quiet, along with a new exhaust system which lowers its heat signature, and thereby defending it against threats from heat seeking missiles. The fire control system is also brand new and a lot more effective than the previous iteration.

Unkown missile launching system

This new missile launching system was only recently discovered and photographed. It looks like a Soviet or Russian style anti-aircraft missile system Җ perhaps a component of the S-300 anti-aircraft system, which is the system currently deployed in order to defend the skies above Syria. Should this be the case, it is likely that the Chinese would reverse engineer this technology in order to make their own version. Or perhaps they already have, and this is the result.

Silent Hunter anti-missile laser

This system is designed to defend ships and perhaps tanks against incoming missile threats. The way that this system is believed to work is by shooting an extremely high powered, super heated laser at an incoming missile, thereby either cutting the missile up or even blowing up the projectile mid-air. However, due to the fact that we have not seen it in use yet, we do not know for certain what its capabilities are.

VT-4 MBT

This is the newest, third generation battle tank in the Chinese arsenal. It is impressive due to it being constructed out of a special, anti-explosive composite material, as well as the fact that it is outfitted with a whole range of defenses, along with a high tech cannon and laser targeting system. It has so far been sold to the Thai military. However, perhaps most importantly, it has air conditioning.

Drone disabling gun

Drones are everywhere these days. You can buy them at any corner store it seems, and they are always flying around parks, the beach, events, and everything else. It is quite obnoxious to go out into nature only to hear the buzzing of a drone. Well, the Chinese now have a gun which shoots them down ֖ not with projectiles, but by shooting radio waves at the drone in what amounts to a Ddos attack. No word yet on whether or not you can order it on Alibaba.

CH-805

This flying wing designed drone is officially only going to be used to test Chinese radar and air defenses along with radar systems inside Chinas new indigenous fifth generation fighter planes. The drone can reach near supersonic speeds, and provides a difficult target to track. However, due to this low radar signature, there is a worry that this drone my in the end be used operationally, posing a challenge to enemy forces.

Drone swarms

Thats right, China is currently building swarm drones. And they operate nearly independently. Using techniques learned by watching schools of fish and flocks of birds, the Chinese have figured out how to get over 100 drones to work together in order to fly in conjunction with minimal input from an operator. Set to be used primarily for reconnaissance or intelligence gathering, all an operator needs to say is search hereӔ and the swarm will do the rest.

ZH-05

This Chinese gun is one of the newest combat infantry weapons in the Chinese arsenal. Able to fire at 600 rounds per minute and with a range of 400 meters, this is truly a sharp looking weapon. However, what makes it unique is that the scope has a camera on it, enabling it to hook up to a lens on a soldiers helmet. This lets the soldier peer around corners and fire any enemy coming at them.

Chinese robot savior

This robot looks like a cross between a human and a spider. Its main purpose is to be able to conduct search and rescue missions and find missing civilians and soldiers underneath tons of rubble. The Chinese have unfortunately been forced to use this on multiple occasions due to the various earthquakes which the country has seen in recent years, particularly in Yunnan.

Type 22 Missile Boat

These small quick, double hulled missile boats really worry military strategists. The boats, which are cheap and easy to produce, can swarm a US carrier strike force and cause a whole lot of damage. This is because these boats are equipped with eight anti-ship missiles. Should just 10 of the reported 83 of these missile boats fire a salvo of rockets, that translates into 80 highly accurate and fast anti-ship missiles. The missiles only need to be lucky once.

Ground Control Station

This is a ground control station which is going to be put into spotter planes which will be flying above the main battle. The crazy thing about this however, is that it is a hologram. Thats right, just like in every sci-fi movie that has ever been made, these holodecks will enable a commander to be able to see an entire battlefield in full 360 degree coverage, enabling them to make better decisions in real time.

SOAR Dragon drone

The SOAR Dragon is another one of ChinaҒs newest drones coming off the line. It is specifically developed to do high altitude reconnaissance and surveillance. The drone has a service ceiling of 59,000 feet, and is able to fly for 10 hours without refueling. The range of the plane is approximately 4,300 miles, putting much of east Asia within this airplanes reach.

YJ-12

The YJ-12 is an anti-ship cruise missile which can fly at supersonic speeds towards its target. The missile flies over the top of the sea, keeping a low radar profile. The profile is so small that it would not be picked up by an enemy shipҒs radar until about 30 seconds to impact. The missile is also really fast, flying up to three times the speed of sound. There is very little in an enemys naval arsenal that can take this on.

Type 87 grenade launcher

This is exactly what it sounds like no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It is built like a normal, belt fed submachine gun, but with a twist; it shoots grenades. This incredible weapon of destruction is able to shoot out 120 grenades a minute (two grenades a second). While China has not seen these used in action as of this writing, the Syrian military has been using them in its civil war, as has the Sudanese and Pakistani militaries.

AMR-2

This is a huge, 50 caliber sniper rifle. It is actually deemed to be an anti-materiel gun as opposed to being an anti-personnel weapon. This means that the primary targets of this gun are vehicles, and not people. This is because at over a mile a way, a bullet fired from this rifle can split a man in half and keep going for another quarter mile. These are powerful guns, and can help turn the tide of a war.

FHJ-84

This is a twin barreled incendiary rocket launcher modeled after several of the Russian varieties. It can be either shoulder fired or fired from a tripod. The reason for the double barrel is simple. Many tanks have some sort of anti-missile protection which can shoot a projectile out of the air. But this fires a lead projectile, causing the anti-missile protection to go off, and enabling the primary missile to hit the target.

QCW-05

This is a lightweight, short, bullpup machine gun produced for and used by the Chinese military, specifically its special forces and police. The gun is unique not only in its light weight, but also in its special, 50 round banana clip. While most clips only are able to hold approximately 30 bullets, this clip was designed to effectively carry 50. It takes a 5.8 mm round, and is effective at around 200 meters.

QBZ-95

Another bullpup designed assault weapon, the QBZ-95 comes in three variants; a carbine, light support weapon, and standard rifle. Firing a .42 mm or .45 mm round, this gun can accurately hit a target at over 400 yards. There are currently over 97 variants and knock offs of this weapon being used in conflicts in every corner of the globe, with the first of these weapons leaving Chinese borders when they were seen in Hong Kong under British occupation.

Shenyang J-31

This plane is interesting not only because it is an indigenous Chinese fifth generation stealth fighter, but also because this plane was not built by the military. It was instead built by a state-owned company. While it will probably not see use until 2018, there are already several prototypes built, and it is expected to be a competitor for the F-35. We do not know too much about the aircraft, but it will definitely threaten US air superiority over southeast Asia.

KJ-2000

This is China’s very own airborne warning and control plane (AWACS). It is designed not only to find enemy forces and ships at a long range, but is used as a mobile, airborne command center as well, enabling troops to receive the most updated, real time information. Additionally, the Chinese KJ-2000 is able to track up to 100 targets simultaneously in the sea, on land, and in the air.

Qbu-88 sniper rifle

This bullpup designed sniper rifle shoots .42mm rounds accurately up to approximately one kilometer, making it one of the primary sniper rifles in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army as well as the Chinese Police Force for hostage situations. The bullpup design enables higher rates of accuracy as well as less kickback than a normal sniper rifle. Weighing in at only 9lbs, this sniper rifle is perfect for special forces operators.

Type 67 Machine gun

Despite it being so old, this weapon sure packs a powerful punch. Being able to be belt fed, this machine gun has the ability to fire over 650 rounds per minute. The Type 67, which has gone through at least two upgrades, was a menace to American troops during the Vietnam War. More recently, it was used during the Lebanese Civil War, as well as currently in the Syrian Civil War as well as the current Yemeni Civil War to great effect.

Type 56 assault rifle

A quick question suppose you are a country who wants to buy a whole slew of weapons, but simply does not have the money to buy high quality AK-47s en masse? The answer ֖ go to China and pick up tons of Type 56 rifles. This is a knock off of the AK-47 and is about half the price. 37 countries which use this as their primary weapon, and its a favorite for terrorist organizations from the Taliban to Hamas to ISIS.

Type 81 MRLS

The Chinese invented the multiple rocket launcher system way back in the 11th century, but they have vastly improved upon it since then. With the PeopleҒs Liberation Armys Type 81, the military is able to shoot a massive barrage of 40 122mm missiles at any target, which is basically enough to flatten a medium sized town from about 30 miles away. This is far enough away that most artillery would not even be able to accurately hit it.

Dong-Feng 21

Known as the DF-21, this is a medium range cruise missile. These giants can be modified to be able to be shot at either ground based or even sea based targets. With a range of 1,700 kilometers, it could easily carry out a strike on several places in the south Pacific. According to the various international military sources, it would only take one of these missiles to sink an enemy aircraft carrier. The sources also stated that there is currently no defense against it.

Type 99

The Type 99 tank is the newest armored workhorse of the PeopleҒs Liberation Army. It can travel of speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, giving it great maneuverability. Capable of carrying up to 42 tank rounds, this vehicle also has an automatic carousel loader for quick firing which can be done either automatically or manually. The tank can also be outfitted to fire both high explosive anti-tank rounds as well as ATGMs for lighter armored vehicles.

ZBD05

The ZBD05 is the newest, most upgraded amphibious assault ship in the Chinese arsenal. Capable of carry eight soldiers, it is capable of hitting speeds of up to 30 miles per hour in the water, a speed which most personal speedboats have trouble getting up to. For defense, it is equipped with a 30mm cannon as well as the ability to launch short range HJ-8 anti-tank missiles.

Type 82 automatic p*stol

Based on the Polish PM-63 RAK, this p*stol has both semi-automatic as well as automatic mode. Firing an .18mm round, this weapon is small and compact enough to be used super-effectively at close range. The primary operators of this weapon are Chinese special forces. China captured several of these gun*s in the Sino-Vietnamese wars, reversed engineered them, and then started making their own

QJZ-89

This is technically an anti-aircraft gun which shoots enormous .50 caliber bullets into the air in order to bring down enemy aircraft which have intruded into Chinese airspace. This weapon is not used as much in this manner anymore, and is used by various groups in Syria, Yemen, and South Sudan as a way to simply mow down adversaries in those countries֒ civil wars.

Pterodactyl UAV (CH-5)

This drone is a Chinese copy of the US Air Force Reaper drone. Unveiled at an airshow in the Chinese city of Zhuhai in 2016, the Chinese Air Force claims that the plane can fly for two days without refuelling, and has a range of over 15,000 miles enough to fly from Beijing to Chicago and back. The drone also allegedly able to carry a range of smart bombs as well as jam all sorts of radar defense systems.

Norinco Battle Robot

This is a Chinese combat robot, able to take on any terrain both natural and urban. It is tracked, enabling the robot to climb over both rocks as well as stairs with ease. Its primary armament is a 12 gauge shotgun, but it can be outfitted with a machine gun, grenade launcher, or even robotic arms which can be used to dismantle a bomb. Used as a forward weapon, it is able to go into buildings and look for booby traps instead of people.

Aircraft Carrier

The true test of a country֒s power projection is whether or not it can field its forces from far flung forward operating bases effectively and consistently. One of the best ways to do this is with an aircraft carrier. And now, China has one. The ship itself was bought from Ukraine under the guise of being turned into a theme park (China bought two carriers for this purpose). However, once it got to China, the carrier was retrofitted, and is now operational.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/13/18 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Legalized Hacking

snooping on your pc

If I were to PORT SCAN any IP - I can be IN BIG TROUBLE.

Shouldn’t BIG BAD BANKS - and everyone else = be bound by the same rules?

Check this out:

Halifax Bank scans the machines of surfers that land on its login page whether or not they are customers

---

Bank on it: It’s either legal to port-scan someone without consent or it’s not, fumes researcher
One rule for banks, another for us, says white hat

By John Leyden
The Register
August 7, 2018

Security researcher Paul Moore has made his objection to this practice in which the British bank is not alone - clear, even though it is done for good reasons. The researcher claimed that performing port scans on visitors without permission is a violation of the UK’s COMPUTER MISUSE ACT (CMA).

Halifax has disputed this, arguing that the port scans help it pick up evidence of malware infections on customers’ systems. The scans are legal, Halifax told Moore in response to a complaint he made on the topic last month.

When you visit the Halifax login page, even before you’ve logged in, JavaScripton the site, running in the browser, attempts to scan for open ports on your local computer to see if remote desktop or VNC services are running, and looks for some general remote access trojans (RATs) backdoors, in other words. Crooks are known to abuse these remote services to snoop on victims’ banking sessions.

Moore said he wouldn’t have an issue if Halifax carried out the security checks on people’s computers after they had logged on. It’s the lack of consent and the scanning of any visitor that bothers him. “If they ran the scriptafter you’ve logged in… they’d end up with the same end result, but they wouldn’t be scanning visitors, only customers,” Moore said.

According to Moore, when he called Halifax to complain, a representative told him: “We have to port scan your machine for security reasons.”

Having failed to either persuade Halifax Bank to change its practices or Action Fraud to act (thus far1), Moore last week launched a fundraising effort to privately prosecute Halifax Bank for allegedly breaching the Computer Misuse Act. This crowdfunding effort on GoFundMe aims to gather 15,000 (so far just 50 has been raised).

Halifax Bank’s “unauthorised” port scans are a clear violation of the CMA - and amounts to an action that security researchers are frequently criticised and/or convicted for, Moore argued. The CISO and part-time security researcher hopes his efforts in this matter might result in a clarification of the law.

“Ultimately, we can’t have it both ways,” Moore told El Reg. “It’s either legal to port scan someone without consent, or with consent but no malicious intent, or it’s illegal and Halifax need to change their deployment to only check customers, not visitors.”

The whole effort might smack of tilting at windmills, but Moore said he was acting on a point of principle.

“If security researchers operate in a similar fashion, we almost always run into the CMA, even if their intent isn’t malicious. The CMA should be applied fairly to both parties.”

Moore announced his findings, his crowdfunded litigation push and the reasons behind it on Twitter, sparking a lively debate. Security researchers are split on whether the effort is worthwhile.

The arguments for and against

The scanning happens on the customer login page and not the main Halifax Bank site, others were quick to point out. Moore acknowledged this but said it was besides the point.

Infosec pro Lee Burgess disagreed: “If they had added to the non-customer page then the issue would be different. They are only checking for open ports, nothing else, so [I] cannot really see the issue.”

Surely there needs to be intent to cause harm or recklessness for any criminal violation, neither of which is present in the case of Halifax, argued another.

UK security pro Kevin Beaumont added: “I’d question if [it was] truly illegal if [there was] not malicious intent. Half the infosec services would be illegal (Shodan, Censys etc). IRC networks check on connect, Xbox does, PlayStation does etc.”

Moore responded that two solicitors he’d spoken to agreed Halifax’s practice appeared to contravene the CMA. An IT solicitor contact of The Register, who said he’d rather not be quoted on the topic, agreed with this position. Halifax’s lawyers undoubtedly disagree.

Moore concluded: “Halifax explicitly says they’ll run software to detect malware… but that’s if you’re a customer. Halifax currently scan everyone, as soon as you land on their site.”

Enter the ThreatMetrix

Halifax Bank is part of Lloyds Banking Group, and a reference customer for ThreatMetrix, the firm whose technology is used to carry out the port scanning, via client-side JavaScripts.

The scripts run within the visitor’s browser, and are required to check if a machine is infected with malware. They test for this by trying to connect to a local port, but this is illegal without consent, according to Moore.

“Whilst their intentions are clear and understandable, the simple act of scanning and actively trying to connect to several ports, without consent, is a clear violation of the CMA,” Moore argued.

Beaumont countered: “It only connects to the port, it doesn’t send or receive any data (you can see from the code, it just checks if port is listening).”

Moore responded that even passively listening would break the CMA. “That’s sufficient to breach CMA. If I port-sweep Halifax to see what’s listening, I’d be breaching CMA too,” he said.

The same ThreatMetrix tech is used by multiple UK high street banks, according to Beaumont. “If one is forced to change, they all will,” Moore replied.

Moore went on to say that this testing - however well-intentioned - might have undesirable consequences.

“Halifax/Lloyds Banking Group are not trying to gain remote access to your device; they are merely testing to see if such a connection is possible and if the port responds. There is no immediate threat to your security or money,” he explained.

“The results of their unauthorised scan are sent back to Halifax and processed in a manner which is unclear. If you happen to allow remote desktop connections or VNC, someone (other than you) will be notified as such. If those applications have vulnerabilities of which you are unaware, you are potentially at greater risk.”

Moore expressed that his arguably quixotic actions may have beneficial effects. “Either Halifax [is] forced to correct it and pays researchers from the proceeds, or the CMA is revised to clarify that if [its] true intent isn’t malicious, [it’s] safe to continue,” he said.

We have asked ThreatMetrix for comment.

Updated at 1200 UTC to add

Halifax Bank has been to touch to say: “Keeping our customers safe is of paramount importance to the Group and we have a range of robust processes in place “to protect online banking customers.”

Bootnote

1 Action Fraud is the UK’s cyber security reporting centre. Moore has reported the issue to it. AF’s response left Moore pessimistic about finding any relief from that quarter.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/09/18 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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