DarkCyber for November 6, 2018, Is Now Available: Part Two, Amazon’s Disruptive Thrust

November 6, 2018

DarkCyber for November 6, 2018, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/298831585

In this program, DarkCyber explains how Amazon is using open source software and proprietary solutions to reinvent IBM’s concept of vendor lock in.

Decades ago, IBM used mainframes and their proprietary hardware and software to create a barrier to change for government agencies using the systems. Amazon’s approach is to provide a platform which makes use of open source software to allow the US government to make necessary changes to software.

Amazon also offers value added functionality ranging from hardware like the DeepLens smart surveillance devices to patented analytics for real time cross correlation of data. Government agencies using these proprietary components will find themselves dependent on Amazon despite the support for open source software. Stephen E Arnold, author of CyberOSINT, said: “Amazon’s use of open source makes it easy for customers to make changes to the Amazon policeware system. However, Amazon’s value adding proprietary software allows Amazon to lock in government agencies who want access to Amazon’s most advanced services, features, and functions. Amazon wants to reinvent IBM’s approach to lock in for the 21st century.”

An added twist is that many of the providers of policeware and advanced intelligence systems use the Amazon cloud platform to deliver their products and services to US government agencies. Examples include Palantir Technologies, 4iQ and Webhose. Companies leveraging Amazon’s platform have an advantage over firms which use other cloud solutions. However, in the longer terms, Amazon can exercise control over vendors, partners, and integrators as part of a lock in strategy tuned to the 21st century computing realities.

Watch for the third part of this four part series on November 13, 2018.

Kenny Toth, November 6, 2018

DarkCyber for October 30, 2018, Is Now Available: Part One, Amazon Policeware

October 30, 2018

DarkCyber for October 30, 2018, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/297839909

Stephen E Arnold’s DarkCyber is a weekly video news and analysis program about the Dark Web and lesser known Internet services.

This week’s program is Part One of our four part series which examines Amazon’s new platform for law enforcement, intelligence, and warfighting software and solutions.
Amazon has developed and successfully deployed its GovCloud platform (classified and unclassified versions). For more than four years, Amazon has provided its machine learning platform and specialized capabilities to one of the largest covert organizations in the United States. The success of that program has encouraged Amazon to compete for the $5 billion JEDI program to provide cloud services to the US Department of Defense.

In this first of four videos about Amazon’s policeware capabilities, Stephen E Arnold discusses Amazon’s coordinated, organized approach to this new service area.

Since 2007, Amazon has systematically put developed and deployed administrative tools, advanced analytic functions like cross correlation, and the technology required to allow point and click access to a wide range of data. Stephen E Arnold, author of CyberOSINT, said: “Amazon’s investment in policeware, its GovCloud technology, and the specialized services for law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and intelligence professionals is important. Amazon’s initiative has the potential to revolutionize how government agencies process open source and classified information.”

The JEDI contract, however, is not the end game for Amazon. The larger objective is for Amazon to provide a range of services which will allow the company to provide regulatory and enforcement services to allies of the United States and meet the needs of local, county, and state agencies. Plus, Amazon has landed a law enforcement contract in the UK which suggests that the company will pursue similar engagements in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, the so-called Five Eyes initiative.

Amazon, if it wins the JEDI deal, could change the way in which government agencies procure advanced technology and process test, image, numeric, and video data. One immediate impact will be to force additional changes in how US government procurements for policeware, war fighting, and intelligence systems are handled. Furthermore, the traditional Federal supply chain for policeware and sense making systems will be disrupted.

Watch for the second part of this four part series next week on November 6, 2018

Kenny Toth, October 30, 2018

DarkCyber for October 23, 2018, Now Available

October 23, 2018

DarkCyber, Stephen E Arnold’s video news program about the Dark Web and lesser known Internet services, is now available. You can view the video at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress or on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/296379232.

This week’s program includes four stories.

Bing and Google allegedly display content not appropriate to some users. Bing suggests links to content related to images not suitable for young people. Google allegedly returns results to YouTube videos which explain how to purchase illegal substances on the Dark Web. DarkCyber’s research team verified that content some individuals may find problematic do appear in search results. YouTube “how to” videos are findable by exploring pages deeper in a Google search result set; for example, pages six and following. The conclusion is that even when “safe search” features are activated links to topics which may be interpreted as offensive are easy to find, even for novice Web searchers.

The second story reveals that old school exploits and hacks have found a new lease on life. Bad actors are using standard office software and widely used utilities to obtain access to confidential information, employee email, and customer data. The method involves luring an employee to click on a link such as a document allegedly containing a list of employees at another company. Once the document is opened, a known vulnerability in Microsoft Office Dynamic Data Exchange is used to take over the target’s computer. DarkCyber reveals the simple fix to use to protect from this old school exploit.

The third story presents information about the system and method used by the now defunct Psy-Group. This firm has been identified as an organization of interest in the Robert Mueller investigation of President Donald Trump’s alleged interactions related to the 2016 election. DarkCyber walks through the principal components of a psychological operation designed to push the hot buttons of individuals associated with certain topics and political ideas. The DarkCyber video includes a link to additional documents related to the Psy-Group’s methods, which appear to be similar to those used by Cambridge Analytica.

The final story provides information about the decrease in Facebook usage in 2017. However, among one group, Facebook has become a must have social network. This user group is law enforcement officers. These professionals adopt false personas and work to obtain access to closed Facebook groups in order to gather information related to an investigation. The use of false personas is becoming a standard practice, and the data gathered are admissible in certain proceedings.

Beginning on October 30, 2018, DarkCyber presents a four part series about Amazon’s policeware initiative. The videos explain the importance of the Department of Defense’s JEDI procurement, the principal components of Amazon’s machine learning system, how Amazon will work to create a new type of vendor lock in, and the use of the Amazon policeware platform as a jumping off point for regulatory services in the US and expansion of its customer base outside the United States.

Kenny Toth, October 23, 2018

DarkCyber for October 16, 2018 Is Now Available

October 16, 2018

DarkCyber for October 16, 2018, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/295026034

Stephen E Arnold’s DarkCyber is a weekly video news and analysis program about the Dark Web and lesser known Internet services. This week’s program covers three stories related to the Dark Web and specialized Internet services.

The first story explores what appears to be a public relations spat between two Dark Web indexing vendors. Terbium Labs offers it Matchlight service to government and commercial companies. Digital Shadows sells its SearchLight service to the same markets. Terbium Labs issued a new report. The document asserts that data collection about the Dark Web and related services has to be more stringent and consistent. Digital Shadows response was a report that for $150 Dark Web bad actors would hack the email account of any employee. The data used to back the claim were general, and they lacked the specificity that Terbium Labs desires. DarkCyber’s view is that Terbium Lab is advocating a “high road”; that is, more diligent data collection and more comprehensive indexing. Digital Shadows, on the other hand, seems to be embrace the IBM approach to marketing by emphasizing uncertainty and doubt.

The second story reports that PureTech Systems has announced it fully autonomous drone platform. When a sensor is activate, the PureTech drone can launch itself, navigate to the specific location identified by the sensor, and began collecting information in real time. The data are then fed in real time into the PureTech analytics subsystem. Tasks which once required specialists and intelligence analysts can now be shifted to the PureTech platform.

The final story for the October 16, 2018, is the failure of a California film professional to arrange for a Dark Web murder. After police received a tip, the person of interest was arrested. His missteps included using his California driver’s license to purchase Bitcoin to pay the Dark Web hit man. The interest in murder for hire seems to be high; however, most of those visiting these sites do not realize that they are scams. The California man paid $5 down on the hit, but his payoff was a stay in jail, not the termination of his step mother.

DarkCyber appears each Tuesday on the blog Beyond Search and on Vimeo. A four part series about Amazon’s policeware capabilities begins on October 30, 2018. Watch for these programs at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress.

Kenny Toth, October 16, 2018

The Hacking Hit Parade

October 12, 2018

Beyond Search readers may find “Top 10 Web Hacking Techniques of 2017 interesting.” Many of these may seem to be small potatoes compared to the allegedly hacking of Supermicro motherboards, but intriguing nevertheless.

The top three techniques, according to the write up, are:

  • Coming in at number three is a method for spoofing customer support tickets. The key is “implicit trust.”
  • At number two is Web cache deception. The idea is to put data into a Web cache in order to get the good stuff.
  • And, the number one, hacking method for 2017 was use of server side request forgery. Now this method is like a multiple warhead weapon; that is, once can use some quite interesting methods of delivery and create what the innovator calls “quick fun”.

We will provide more information in our November 27, 2018, DarkCyber news program.

Stephen E Arnold, November 27, 2018

DarkCyber for October 9, 2018, Now Available

October 9, 2018

DarkCyber for October 9, 2018, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/293949062

Stephen E Arnold’s DarkCyber is a weekly video news and analysis program about the Dark Web and lesser known Internet services. This week’s program covers two stories related to Israel’s thriving intelligence technology capabilities.

The first story discusses the allegation that NSO, based in Israel, has licensed its Pegasus system to the United Arab Emirates. A number of news services have suggested that NSO has the capability to turn a mobile phone into a remote surveillance device. Another allegation explored in this week’s DarkCyber is that NSO can access an Apple iPhone when only the mobile telephone number is provided to the company. If these assertions are accurate, NSO has leapfrogged other forensic and intelligence related firms’ capabilities.

The second story explores the startup Cobwebs Technologies. The company, founded in 2015, has implemented a wide range of capabilities into one easy to use system. Unlike IBM i2 Analyst Notebook and Palantir Technologies Gotham, Cobwebs Technologies’ approach reduces user training to a few days. Most advanced functions such as generating a relationship map or analyzing a stream of social media content require no programming. Stephen E Arnold, producer of Dark Cyber and author of CyberOSINT: Next Generation Information Access, said: “Cobwebs Technologies simplification of the content acquisition and analytics process makes advanced technology within the reach of most law enforcement and intelligence personnel. Until now, most users of advanced intelligence systems needed some programming knowledge and specialized training in the software system. Cobwebs changes the game in a significant way.”

DarkCyber appears each Tuesday. A special four part series about Amazon’s policeware capabilities begins on October 30, 2018. The program will be available on the Beyond Search blog, YouTube, and Vimeo.

Remember our special four part series about Amazon policeware begins on October 30, 2018.

Kenny Toth, October 9, 2018

DarkCyber for October 2, 2018, Now Available

October 2, 2018

DarkCyber for October 2, 2018, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/292574943 .

Stephen E Arnold’s DarkCyber is a weekly video news and analysis program about the Dark Web and lesser known Internet services. This week’s program covers four Dark Web and security related stories.

The first story reports some of the findings from Carbon Black’s study of cryptojacking. The exploit uses an unsuspecting organization’s computers to mine cryptocurrency without the knowledge of the unwitting host. Organizations in the US, according to the study, are the number one target in the world. DarkCyber reveals how to get a free copy of this report.

The second story explores a new Dark Web crowd funding site called SadaqaCoins. The purpose of the site is to make it easy for terrorist – activists to support specific projects; for example, funding ransom, purchasing weapons, or contributing money so that sacrificial animals can be purchased by the devout. Contributions are accepted in Bitcoin, Monero, and Ethereum. The SadaqaCoins’ site then provides the funds to the person or organization requesting the funds. SadaqaCoins is not a replacement for hawala method of fund transfer.

The third story provides a snapshot of a hacking tool called theHarvester. Included with Kali Linux, theHarvester acquires information about a domain, including subdomains and other information. The system uses publicly available sources of information, including Web searches, PGP registries, Shodan, and similar content resources. The software can display names, email addresses, and related information. The software tool can be used for forensic and more aggressive information gathering tasks. DarkCyber provides information so that a viewer can download the software without charge.

The final story reports that the Drug Llama has been identified and captured. A 31 year old female allegedly sold controlled substances, including fentanyl and engaged in money laundering. The investigation included state and federal law enforcement units. For now, the Drug Llama is no longer roaming the highs and lows of the Dark Web.

Watch for our Amazon Policeware series beginning on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

Stephen E Arnold, October 2, 2018

DarkCyber for September 25, 2018, Now Available

September 25, 2018

DarkCyber for September 25, 2018, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/291347184 

Stephen E Arnold’s DarkCyber is a weekly video news and analysis program about the Dark Web and lesser known Internet services.

This week’s program covers four Dark Web and security related stories.

The first story answers the question, “What are some essential programs for my hacking toolkit. DarkCyber identifies eight tools used by an ethical hacker and provides links to these programs. Each program performs a specific function and delivers information about passwords, system configuration, and other items of information associated with a target.

The second story explores a money laundering method implemented via online games. By exploiting the allegedly lax credit card verification methods used by Apple and other online game sellers, bad actors can use a stolen card to purchase digital assets sold within an online game. The assets can enhance the game play of the purchaser by activating special powers and other features. These digital assets can then be resold with the payments directed to an encrypted and allegedly anonymous digital currency wallet. DarkCyber notes that few parents and some game players are unaware of this scam.

The third story takes a look at Verizon’s detailed analysis of cyber crime exploits. The free report provides “how to” instructions for undertaking social engineering, hardware attacks, and malware attacks. The report includes detailed tables and appendices with additional cyber crime information. Stephen E Arnold, author of Dark Web Notebook, said, “The Verizon report contains information of value for security and law enforcement personnel. Unfortunately, this type of explanatory information provides bad actors with important insights into specific methods are effective when attacking an organization or an individual.”

The final story explains how to create a custom Tor Onion URL. Instead of a string of incomprehensible letters and numbers, DarkCyber reviews a method for generating a more easily recognized URL like “bobsbankxxxxxxxx. The procedure taps an open source software program and specific operational types created by a security expert. The video includes the site locations for the software and the instructional article.

Beginning with the program for October 30, 2018, and then for programs released on November 6, November 13, and November 20, Stephen will issue a series of four DarkCyber programs about Amazon’s policeware initiative. Each video will be about three minutes. The standard news format will resume on November 27.

The DarkCyber team has developed a for fee one hour briefing about the little known facet of Amazon’s product and services initiative. To set up a video conference, email benkent2020 at yahoo dot com. Please, put “Amazon policeware” in the subject line.

Kenny Toth, September 25, 2018

Kenny Toth

DarkCyber for September 18, 2018 Now Available

September 18, 2018

DarkCyber for September 18, 2018, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/290147202 . 

This week’s DarkCyber video news program covers … Bitfury’s deanonymization service and its unusual sales approach… the loss of UK law enforcement laptops… facial recognition for law enforcement challenged by tech company employees… and X1 and its eDiscovery system with Dark Web content support.

The first story explains that Bitfury, a UK company with an interesting staff line up, offers digital currency deanonymization services. The company’s approach to sales, however, is unusual. Specifically, the company refused to explain its services at a recent law enforcement conference. DarkCyber continues to recommend that agencies interested in digital currency deanonymization look at services available from Chainalysis and Elliptic, two companies which do explain their services to security and enforcement officials.

The second story reports that UK media pointed out that in one year, UK law enforcement lost 60 laptops. With tens of thousands of officers and operators, DarkCyber states that the alleged problem is blown out of proportion. Bad actors attempt to obtain laptops, mobiles, and other computing devices in order to compromise investigations. DarkCyber asserts that the loss of 60 laptops illustrates the good job UK authorities do with regard to preventing loss of laptops.

The third story describes the Amazon DeepLens system. In addition to explaining how this Amazon camera integrates with Amazon’s machine learning and analytics subsystems, DarkCyber reports that neither Amazon, IBM, or any other US company was able to sell their technology to Ecuador. That country purchased a state-of-the-art Chinese developed system. With employee pushback against their employers’ work for the US government, US facial recognition technology may find itself at a disadvantage with regard to technical development and system innovation.

The final story covers the X1 eDiscovery system for social content. The X1 technology can now acquire and process social media information as well as some Dark Web content. Instead of directly scraping Dark Web sites, the X1 method relies on the Tor2Web.org service. The new product costs about $2,000 per year. DarkCyber explains where to download a 14-day free trial.

Kenny Toth, September 18, 2018

DarkCyber for September 11, 2018, Now Available

September 11, 2018

DarkCyber for September 11, 2018, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com .

Stephen E Arnold’s DarkCyber is a weekly video news and analysis program about the Dark Web and lesser known Internet services.

This week’s program covers four Dark Web and security related stories.

The first story reports that cybercrime has increased by 32 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of 2017. The most popular malware is for covert crypto currency mining and for Trojan software that can entice a user to download a document or video. DarkCyber reveals an easy way to locate malware using Bing.com and the Pastebin.com service. The easy access to potentially harmful software presents an increasing risk for many Internet users.

The second story explains that a citizen attempted to research a Dark Web murder-for-hire site. After engaging law enforcement, the individual used malware to create a disturbance on the Dark Web site. What happened next surprised the citizen hacker. The police picked up the individual and held him for 36 hours. The incident makes clear that law enforcement has the technical capabilities to monitor Dark Web access and identify individuals who perform certain online actions. The Dark Web and access to it can present some interesting challenges to those who assume that the Dark Web access is secret.

The third story explores the capabilities of SpyCloud, a fast-growing start up based in Austin, Texas. The company has amassed billions of items of information related to passwords, users names, and other types of high-value information. The firm’s system makes it possible for the company to identify a data security problem, often before it poses a problem for the organization. The company recently raised an additional $5 million in Series A funding, bringing the total funding to about $8 million.

The final story reports that the Australian government wants access to computing devices protected by a password. Pending legislation provides for a sentence of 10 years in jail for an individual who refuses to comply with a government request to unlock devices or decrypt encrypted data.

Kenny Toth, September 11, 2018

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