Secret Internets and Gullible Fools
The global internet has always been a US possession. Spun off from what was originally military research. Made open to many things and apparently free. But probably always a lure to the gullible.
And not everyone was gullible. China got very suspicious, for good reasons. This is treated as paranoia or oppression by Western media. But to suspect covert US control was always reasonable.
One internet service has just now been revealed as exactly that.
“ANOM: Hundreds arrested in massive global crime sting using messaging app
“More than 800 suspected criminals have been arrested worldwide after being tricked into using an FBI-run encrypted messaging app, officials say.“The operation, jointly conceived by Australia and the FBI, saw devices with the ANOM app secretly distributed among criminals, allowing police to monitor their chats about drug smuggling, money laundering and even murder plots…
“After the FBI had dismantled two other encryption services, it began operating its own encrypted device company called ANOM, officials said.
“Devices with the chat app were distributed in the criminal underworld.“The devices were initially used by alleged senior crime figures, giving other criminals the confidence to use the platform.” (ANOM: Hundreds arrested in massive global crime sting using messaging app.)
I am astonished that anyone could have been so dumb.
I’d said back in 2000 that the idea of an Internet of autonomous and uncontrollable was not going to work. (The Web Is Always Insecure). And suspected it was all along a scam to get the global population to weaken their own governments and become dependent on the USA. And since the USA was dominated by conceited fools – the New Rightists who ‘pacified Washington’ but failed in the wider world – real dissidents should avoid it like the plague. (The Internet as Secret Policeman’s Friend).
I’m not sure how many listened. I’m not aware of anyone at all taking to my advice – but then again, they’d probably not share it if they had.
I feel sympathy for non-violent dissidents even for causes I dislike. Professional criminals are another matter. I’ve never had the remotest contact, nor wished for any. Few of them are the Robin Hoods of popular fiction. For that matter, Robin Hood is a much more brutal and vicious character in the very first versions of his legends. And the famous Rob Roy was informing on the Jacobite movement he had nominally joined, and managed to stay away from two major battles where other and authentic Highland heroes risked much and lost much. This we know from government records, and Walter Scott mentions this in notes for his famous book that glorified him. I could even wonder if he were a police informer. His miraculous escapes might have been contrived by the authorities, who found him worth preserving.
So, I have no wish to associate with such people. Minor criminals may be likeable, thought most are not. Professional criminals are another matter. But I could certainly have warned them, had I been part of their world.
“Colonial Pipeline: US recovers most of ransom, justice department says…
“On Monday, Deputy Attorney-General Lisa Monaco said investigators had ‘found and recaptured’ 63.7 Bitcoin worth $2.3m – ‘the majority’ of the ransom paid. Since the ransom was paid the value of Bitcoin has fallen sharply.” (Colonial Pipeline: US recovers most of ransom, justice department says).
I’d suppose that Bitcoin was always fully traceable by US spy agencies, who may even have been the inventors.
And it confirms that crime is the main reason for using Bitcoin. That and speculation.
I recently got a run of messages offering me the exciting prospect of growing rich through Bitcoin. They were looking for ‘Silly Money’ that would fill the gap when the Smart Money got out. I was probably targeted because I have a good credit record, though anyone with better details would know there was no chance of my falling for it.That it also wastes energy is secondary. Even without that, it is a Menace to Society.
But not a menace to the rich. Their agents seem now to be revealing a capacity to control such things: one that has been covert up until now.
I’d always been certain that China’s much-condemned taking of control was nothing more than moving control away from a hostile USA. A USA that does not want China overtaking it, regardless of its politics. In fact Japan was almost targeted in the 1990s, but then Japan suffered a mysterious pause in its growth, while the USA was distracted by Global Islam.
Note also that there was a widespread feeling in British ruling class that Imperial Germany must be destroyed if the British Empire was to remain dominant. That it was unacceptable for Germany to be winning in peaceful competition. That a Preventative War would be a good idea. (How the British Establishment Planned World War One.)
Supposedly this didn’t matter – the German invasion of Belgium was so outrageous that war could not be avoided. But it is very strange that Germany had asked about British attitudes during the months of crisis before the war began. How they were given to believe it would not be a serious problem.
Up until the 1990s, British accounts also said a lot about ‘gallant little Serbia’ being bullied by Austria-Hungary. Less often mentioned was that this was based on a reasonable suspicion that the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne by Serbian terrorists. That it was done to help ensure that Bosnia would be taken by Serbia, a view shared by the Serbian government. And that its secret service had also assassinated a previous Serbian king from a rival dynasty, with the known assassins openly in charge of Serbian secret services. (May Coup (Serbia) – Wikipedia.)
Historians in Britain stopped talking about ‘gallant little Serbia’ when Serbia was redefined as criminal during the break-up of Yugoslavia.
British media and British historians tend to identify with the interests of the ruling class. Which is usually different from that of the British people. Had we had a ruling class like that in Sweden, which abandoned its imperial ambitions early on, ordinary Britons might have been better off. What I write is anti-elite, not anti-British. I bring to light the way the Centre-Right was friendly to fascism and even Nazism in the 1920s and 1930s, for instance. (Tory Sympathy for Fascism in the 1930s.)
I also noted how much of Britain has lost population since the 19th century, thanks to the ruling elite’s concentration on being global powers centred on London. (How the British Empire Blighted Britain.)
Now London as secondary and the USA dominant. And very bad for its ordinary citizens. (Feed-the-Rich Economics.)
I have also blogged on this. You can find my other blogs at https://mrgwydionmwilliams.quora.com/?sort=recent.
And listed by date and subject, most recent first, at this website.
More on the two cases
“Anonymous cryptocurrencies are the payment method of choice for cyber criminals. However, every transaction is recorded on an immutable blockchain, giving private and public sector investigators opportunities to monitor and trace payments.
“The justice department said FBI officers had been able to track ‘multiple transfers’ of cryptocurrency to one particular virtual currency wallet, totalling 63.7 of the 75 bitcoin paid. It said the FBI had the ‘private key’ — the password needed to access the wallet — enabling the agency to seize the funds.
“It is unclear how exactly the FBI got hold of the hackers’ private key. Dave Jevans, chief executive of the blockchain analytics group CipherTrace, said the FBI is believed to have seized some of DarkSide’s servers, which ‘may have hosted wallet private keys’”.
https://www.ft.com/content/43dab2dc-a7aa-4102-9779-d1b6ced2985b (pay site)
“Federal investigators tracked the ransom as it moved through a maze of at least 23 different electronic accounts belonging to DarkSide, the hacking group, before landing in one that a federal judge allowed them to break into, according to law enforcement officials and court documents…
“On Monday, the government filled in some of the blanks. DarkSide operates by providing ransomware to affiliates. In exchange, DarkSide reaps a cut of their profits.
“Officials said they had identified a virtual currency account, often referred to as a wallet, that DarkSide used to collect payment from a ransomware victim — identified in court papers only as Victim X, but whose hacking details match Colonial’s. The officials said that a magistrate judge in the Northern District of California had approved a warrant on Monday to seize funds from the wallet…
“Though U.S. officials have been careful not to directly tie the ransomware attacks to Russia, Mr. Biden, Mr. Wray and others have said that the country protects cybercriminals.
“In many cases, Russia treats them as national assets. In a 2014 breach of Yahoo, for example, Russian intelligence officers worked side by side with cybercriminals, allowing them to profit off stolen data, while instructing them to pass email accounts to the F.S.B., the successor agency to the Soviet-era K.G.B.” https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/07/us/politics/pipeline-attack.html (pay site)
“The Criminals Thought the Devices Were Secure. But the Seller Was the F.B.I…
“The cellphones, procured on the black market, performed a single function hidden behind a calculator app: sending encrypted messages and photos.
“For years, organized crime figures around the globe relied on the devices to orchestrate international drug shipments, coordinate the trafficking of arms and explosives, and discuss contract killings, law enforcement officials said. Users trusted the devices’ security so much that they often laid out their plans not in code, but in plain language.
“Unbeknown to them, the entire network was run by the F.B.I., in coordination with the Australian police…
“In Australia, the effort ensnared domestic and international organized crime groups and outlaw motorcycle gangs, with more than 200 people arrested, officials said. In Sweden, the police arrested 155 people on suspicion of serious crimes and prevented the killing of 10 people thanks to the operation, the authorities said in a statement. The operation also targeted Italian organized crime and international drug trafficking organizations, and hundreds more people were arrested in Europe…
“The F.B.I.’s operation, according to court documents that the Justice Department unsealed on Monday, had its origins in early 2018 after the bureau dismantled a Canadian-based encryption service called Phantom Secure. That company, officials said, supplied encrypted cellphones to drug cartels and other criminal groups.
“Seeing a void in the underground market, the F.B.I. recruited a former Phantom Secure distributor who had been developing a new encrypted communications system called Anom. The informant agreed to work for the F.B.I. and let the bureau control the network for the possibility of a reduced prison sentence, according to the court documents. The F.B.I. paid the informant $120,000, the documents said.
“Anom devices were cellphones that had been stripped of all normal functions. Their only working app was disguised as the calculator function: After entering a code, users could send messages and photos with end-to-end encryption. Over three years, more than 12,000 Anom devices were sold to over 300 criminal syndicates operating in more than 100 countries, according to Europol…
“A big break, law enforcement officials said, came when they were able to get one of the devices into the hands of Hakan Ayik, an Australian who fled the country a decade ago and whom the police believe has been directing drug imports from Turkey…
“The Australian authorities acknowledged that Anom had carried only a small percentage of the total volume of encrypted communications sent by criminal networks. But they said that Anom had an advantage: Those running it were able to listen — directly — to the target audience and give users what they wanted.
“After users spoke of desiring smaller, newer phones, the authorities began to provide them.
“Australian officials said they had revealed the operation on Tuesday because of the need to disrupt dangerous plots currently in motion and because of limited time frames for legal authorities invoked to intercept the communications.””https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/08/world/australia/operation-trojan-horse-anom.html” (pay site)
That’s one of the problems for criminals – most of them are very willing to betray each other.