Zero-day Hacked Bugs

Every once in awhile I read a non-fiction book that challenges my intellect. The most recent is called “This Is How They tell Me The World Ends,” by Nicole Perlroth. This account on cyber security scared me to death about the internet and computers in general. It is my conclusion that the only way one is safe from being hacked on the internet is to shut off the computer and pull the plug, and never plug it back in. If you are using a laptop the only way I can think of is to disconnect from the web, and pull the battery.

Cyber security is something that bugs the crap out of me. I have written just recently about my hatred for using passwords. Companies like Google, and Apple are password paranoid. I always tell people that the only one being protected from getting into my programs and sites is me. I don’t remember passwords at all, and these companies are forcing users to input passwords for every segment of their business. Take Google for instance, I am now familiar with Google, but I wasn’t really interested in Google Drive, Google Photos, or Google anything. They now require user names and passwords for each individual segment of their business. Apple has iPhone, Icloud, and Ipie all demanding user names and passwords. I confess that I don’t get into these segments very often so I don’t remember those details. I keep a 3 x 5 card file with the information as my password manager. The trouble with my system is that it is antiquated and cannot keep up with the digital world. In the case of Apple, I have a stack of 3×5’s stapled together that are 1/4 inch thick with information. Usually, by the time I need to use one of these passwords Apple has deemed it too old and requires a new one. That blows the hell out of my system to make all passwords the same. Recently, by the recommendation of my friends, I am searching for a digital password manager that will replace my card file. I am convinced that it might be easier to give in and use the suggested long complicated passwords generated for me and to forget about keeping track of anything. Except, now that I have read this book I cannot knowingly give in to the hacking world by allowing easy access into my world. It is bad enough that every professional program that I use is froth with hacker entry points that would easily circumvent my passwords.

Let me digress for a moment from the general theme of this post. I like to read news, that is genuine news, and not all the political clap-trap being put before us as news. Over the last few years there have been some notable stories I have followed and forgotten. One of them was a story about a mysterious bug that took over Iran’s computers and disabled (destroyed) several thousand computers they used to control their centrifuges to enrich Uranium. At the time, there was no proof, but the speculation was that the United States and Israel were responsible. Another story, more recent, involved a complete power blackout in Ukraine that crippled the country for days that was attributed to Russia.

As it turns out, both of these stories are accurate and both hacks caused extensive and expensive damage to the countries they were perpetrated on. STUXNET was the invention of the U.S. Our government genii invented this mechanism by sewing several known software-bugs together and also invented a way to sneak it onto an Iranian computer. It took a while for this new bug to work it’s way through the Iranian network, but eventually, it infected a lot of machines, which in turn infected the devices controlling the centrifuges. I give our government an “A” plus, plus, plus for committing an act of war upon Iran without hurting people.

According to author Perlroth, the United States unleashed a weapon that other countries either never thought of, or were afraid to undertake. The end result was a string of cyber attacks by Iran on the U.S. and also from other countries all using “zero-day” openings in software that allowed hacks to occur(a zero-day opening is a hole in software that allows another hacker to enter and infect the program). For years Hackers have been finding these openings in programs and a market for them has developed. At first they were being sold for a few dollars each. As brokers began to understand the value of the bugs the prices shot up. The hope was always that the company whose software the bug was found in would buy it and fix it. Instead, the bugs were sold to the highest bidders which were often countries that could benefit by using these bugs in cyber warfare. The STUXNET was developed using several zero-day bugs. The prices on the market shot up to $250,000 and higher. The U.S. with its deep pockets bought many at millions of dollars a bug. They didn’t use them but rather stored them for future use. After STUXNET, the cyber world got the idea to do the same and wage war the same way.

On the Ukrainian front a special task force of Russian hackers was assigned the task of developing cyber war. They began by developing small discreet components which caused trouble in the Ukraine but because of the size of each they were not considered dangerous. What the world cyber experts did not figure out was that Russia was testing the Ukrainian systems with their hacking bugs. Eventually, the world found out that Russia’s goal was to shut off the lights of a country, and this was probably a test to determine how to shut off the lights in America.

This book is loaded with story after story of hacks that were publicized, but the public didn’t think much of them or was too dense to accept the fact that these wars were taking place on a regular basis. When we think of countries going to war against one another we think of planes bombing sites, tanks shooting buildings to pieces and soldiers shooting each other in the field. We don’t think of war being computers in banks and hospitals being crippled with millions of dollars of damage, or you and me having a bank account hacked and drained of our savings. Luckily, so far that is because the damage is restricted to the computers whose programs had the zero-day bug in them.

Another example is Russia’s attempt to influence the election in this country. I truly believed the crap that Hillary was the one trying to cause our problem, but she was accurate in blaming the Russians. Trump (my hero) on the other hand sided with the Russians to aid him in his quest for the presidency. All I can think of in his defense is the story about Senator Harry Reid from Nevada claiming that Mitt Romney didn’t pay his taxes. After Romney lost to Obama and everyone was asking Harry how he could tell such a blatant lie is “that Obama won the election didn’t he?” This has truly soured me on the election process and politics in general. All of the lies that were told about Russia trying to affect the election were not lies, they were true, but Trump took advantage to use the Russian influence against Biden.

I wrote several times advising not to trust any election in any state that uses computers in the process. there is only one thing worse than using a computer and that is using a computer that is connected to the internet. Author Perlroth used several more examples in her book like the Russian hacking of the DNC. She also explained that hacking into a state’s voter database invites the opportunity to change a voter’s party or to change his vote, and a number of other egregious offenses.

Finally, I am getting back to the point where I broke off above. What can be done about all this shit happening worldwide against us? First, we can regulate the entire software industry and require that they have controls in place to monitor their products. Except, regulation stifles corporations from creativity in favor of safety. Congress won’t buy it. Why don’t we require software companies to ask the public to find these zero-day bugs and pay for them, so they can fix their products? Again, it requires a Congress that is not in the pocket of lobbyists. Why don’t we offer tax incentives for companies who will comply with hack free software? Again, the answer is lobbyists.

There is no easy fix for this problem, but I would certainly be in favor of government regulation of the software industry to produce programs that would offer us some degree of protection from cyber warfare. Our Constitution dictates that the government protect the people. Just as banks are regulated to protect us why not software? Especially software that can be used to harm both the people and the country.

There is a lot more in this book that I have not tried to cover such as China’s role in the world. It is a huge subject, and Nicole Perlroth spent many years researching for her book. Once you read the story, the title will make perfect sense.

E Pluribus Unum

Out of many is one,” is the motto of the United States of America. Lately my thoughts have been on immigration because of the reading I am doing and also because I now have a genuine immigrant for a life partner. The United States is froth with success stories of people who went through monumental hardships to get here just to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities afforded by our country. Of late, we have been deluged with stories about people crossing into the country illegally. Our country has laws and we like to say we are a country of laws, and for the most part we try to obey them all. Every law has consequences, break one and find out what it is. Most laws can be bent depending on who has broken it, and what relation he has with those in power. The powerful can bend, break, ignore, any law if it means advancing his fortune or position in the world. If you are a poor unconnected schlub like me you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Honduran migrants take part in a new caravan heading to the US with Honduran and Guatemalan national flags in Quezaltepeque, Chiquimula, Guatemala on October 22, 2018. – US President Donald Trump on Monday called the migrant caravan heading toward the US-Mexico border a national emergency, saying he has alerted the US border patrol and military. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP)ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images

What we see going on today is a gross mismanagement of immigration law at our southern border. Rules are being broken every minute of every day and no amount of policing seems to be able to control the flow. Of course much of the current control is window dressing to convince the rest of us that the administrators are doing something. Bullshit, they are looking up into the sky while waving them in. I know I sound ruthlessly unmerciful, but I am one of the people who believes in rule of law. Mostly because I have never found myself in a position to have to defend myself against the same.

Our history of laws controlling immigration goes back to the days of our first president George Washington. Since then there have been several iterations trying to control the flow of people. Each time the laws get more and more complex and each time they get more confusing. The result is that we have reached a quagmire that may only be corrected with a rest. In other words a complete cleansing of all immigration laws to be replaced by new laws which better define the twenty-first century demands. The trouble is that not a single politician has the balls to sponsor such an action. Currently, there are so many people in our country that have gotten here by by-passing the official government procedure that, it near impossible to play catch up. To wipe the slate clean which is an action people like to call amnesty is the only answer I ever hear. The problem with amnesty is that is evokes the ire of every red blooded citizen especially those who came as immigrants legally. Politicians both win and lose on this one. the result is a stalemate, and nothing advances.

The radical left uses this situation to advance the spread of communism in the country. The more people they can get into the country and onto the public dole, the sooner the country will go bankrupt and a dictator will be necessary to take control. I don’t know about you, but the thought of being controlled by the likes of someone like Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Pot Pol, Xi Jinping, Nicolas Maduro, or the fat man of North Korea Kim Jong-un makes me want to puke. I’d sooner want to duke it out with guns and eliminate the entire population that thinks in that direction. Thats what happens in dictatorships. That his why Stalin and Chairman Mao killed millions of their own people to get the message across that it was their way, or a bullet to the back.

Yes, we are a nation of laws and we are a nation of immigrants, but there are limits. I believe we must allow immigration to continue but lawfully. We should base the number of people we let in on our ability to assimilate them. We can’t just let the entire world population flood into North America and turn us into a dung hole overnight. That is a sure fire recipe for disaster and the ruination of the land of opportunity. I would sooner take the countries that people are fleeing and make take them over as U.S. territories so they could be controlled by our system and thus open the doors of opportunity within the geographic location of the population.

Whenever I think this way I remember that Puerto Rico is one such an experiment. It is not a state yet, but a territory free to operate under our system. They are a dung hole already on the cusp of bankruptcy because of a heavy reliance on left wing democrats who like to spend freely, and to tax the constituency even heavier. The result is a two class system of very rich haves and the very poor the have nots. Without a middle class which our Republic relies upon to survive.

Back in the nineteen seventies I often debated with myself trying to solve the issue of using capitalism to solve world problems. Back then, labor unions in the USA were huge, but we were a manufacturing economy. In order to compete with the new upstart economies in Europe and Asia we needed cheaper labor, but the unions would not hear of it. There are only two ways to solve this conundrum I thought. Either we lower the wages of our work force, or we raise the wages of the rest of the world. It seems that lowering the wages of our work force is the direction our congressional leaders is taking us. They can’t do it by getting unions to negotiate lower wages, so the new tactic is to import people from very poor regions, who can live on a few dollars a day, to fill the jobs that union people will not take. The end result is the struggle we see happening today. Poor people are flooding the borders to get the jobs that we can’t afford to take. Eventually, these poor will succeed in lowering the cost of labor. High paying unions job will still exist, but not in the numbers needed to give all of our middle class people work. The idea is to force them to take what is available by competing with those who know how to live on a dollar a day. It is not going too happen.

This combination photo shows the cover image for “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants” by George W. Bush, left, and a photo of former President George W. Bush. Crown announced Thursday that the book will be published March 2. It includes 43 portraits by the 43rd president, four-color paintings of immigrants he has come to know over the years, along with biographical essays he wrote about each of them. (Crown via AP, Left, and AP)

The book I’m reading is titled Out Of Many, One. Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” It is by George W. Bush our former president. He has selected 43 immigrants to paint portraits of, and to feature in a short life story vignette about their reasons for immigrating. There isn’t a single story without a happy ending. Yes, these are sterling examples of how people can succeed in our country. The problem is that for every one of these success stories there are probably a million that haven’t achieved a level of success. Too much immigration without the time needed for these people to assimilate is not going to work in our favor. Not everyone has the self motivation to get up from a failure and to keep trying again and again. Too many will opt for the short route to feeling good by taking drugs or alcohol. They might have done better had they had coaches pushing them hard to succeed. Instead we do things like our war on drugs to solve the problem. We all know how that works. It made the cartels stronger and they developed ta strong market for drugs by outwitting our drug enforcement efforts for decades. The end result is we make drugs legal, so they are easier to get, and then we stop sending drug abusers to prison. We tax the drugs and remove the prison cost so the state wins big time. The immigration problem continues.

An Excellent Essay

I only wish I would have written this essay. It is logical, and presents answers to Leftist claims that all people have a right to equal outcomes.

Two Americas

The Democrats are right, there are two Americas.The America that works, and the America that doesn’t.The America that contributes, and the America that doesn’t. It’s not the haves and the have nots, it’s the dos and the don’ts. Some people do their duty as Americans, obey the law, support themselves, contribute to society, and others don’t.  That’s the divide in America. It’s not about income inequality, it’s about civic irresponsibility. It’s about a political party that preaches hatred, greed and victimization in order to win elective office. It’s about a political party that loves power more than it loves its country.  That’s not invective, that’s truth, and it’s about time someone said it.

The politics of envy was on proud display a couple weeks ago when President  Biden pledged the rest of his term to fighting “income inequality.”  He noted that some people make more than other people, that some people have higher incomes than others, and he says that’s not just. That is the rationale of thievery.  The other guy has it, you want it, Biden will take it for you.  Vote Democrat.

That is the philosophy that produced Detroit.  It is the electoral philosophy that is destroying America. It conceals a fundamental deviation from American values and common sense because it ends up not benefiting the people who support it, but a betrayal. The Democrats have not empowered their followers; they have enslaved them in a culture of dependence and entitlement, of victim-hood and anger instead of ability and hope. The president’s premise – that you reduce income inequality by debasing the successful – seeks to deny the successful the consequences of their choices and spare the unsuccessful the consequences of their choices.  Because, by and large, income variations in society is a result of different choices leading to different consequences.  Those who choose wisely and responsibly have a far greater likelihood of success, while those who choose foolishly and irresponsibly have a far greater likelihood of failure.

  Success and failure usually manifest themselves in personal and family income. You choose to drop out of high school or to skip college – and you are apt to have a different outcome than someone who gets a diploma and pushes on with purposeful education and/or employment. You have your children out of wedlock and life is apt to take one course; you have them within a marriage and life is apt to take another course.

Most often in life our destination is determined by the course we take. My doctor, for example, makes far more than I do.  There is significant income inequality between us.  Our lives have had an inequality of outcome, but, our lives also have had an in equality of effort.  While my doctor went to college and then devoted his young adulthood to medical school and residency, I chose another avenue. He made a choice, I made a choice, and our choices led us to different outcomes.  His outcome pays a lot better than mine.  Does that mean he cheated and Joe Biden needs to take away his wealth?  No, it means we are both free men in a free society where free choices lead to different outcomes. It is not inequality Joe Biden intends to take away, it is freedom. 

The freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail.  There is no true option for success if there is no true option for failure.  The pursuit of happiness means a whole lot less when you face the punitive hand of government if your pursuit brings you more happiness than the other guy.  Even if the other guy sat on his arse and did nothing.  Even if the other guy made a lifetime’s worth of asinine and shortsighted decisions. President Biden and the Democrats preach equality of outcome as a right, while completely ignoring inequality of effort.  The simple Law of the Harvest – as ye sow, so shall ye reap – is sometimes applied as, “The harder you work, the more you get.”  Biden would turn that upside down.

Those who achieve are to be punished as enemies of society and those who fail are to be rewarded as wards of society. Entitlement will replace effort as the key to upward mobility in American society if President Biden-Barack gets his way.  He seeks a lowest common denominator society in which the government besieges the successful and productive to foster equality through mediocrity.  He and his party speak of two Americas, and their grip on power is based on using the votes of one to sap the productivity of the other.  America is not divided by the differences in our outcomes, it is divided by the differences in our efforts.  It is a false philosophy to say one man’s success comes about unavoidably as the result of another man’s victimization. What Biden offered was not a solution, but a separatism.  He fomented division and strife, pitted one set of Americans against another for his own political benefit.  That’s what socialists offer.  Marxist class warfare wrapped up with a bow. Two Americas, coming closer each day to proving the truth to Lincoln’s maxim that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Rape Trees?

On the heels of yesterday’s post American Dirt, I received this short piece from a friend who lives in Apache Junction, Arizona. This is another side to yesterday’s story. Author Jeanine Cummins turned me sympathetic to the cause of the immigrants, but today another American author has turned me back into a curmudgeon who wants the borders closed and strict immigration laws enforced. Oh, and some new laws that will make it easier for the real immigrants to come across without harm.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

The media coverage is absent or so watered down that it seems ok.  

Thought I would take a few minutes and recap what is happening in Green Valley right now.  For those of you that have not been here, Green Valley is a community of about 25,000 people located about a half hour south of Tucson and ~35 miles north of the Mexican border.  It is a retirement community.  The joke is most people are eating supper at 4 p.m. and in bed by 7 p.m.  The crime rate is nil.  But we cannot say the same of Tucson.  Our county is PIMA. PIMA county has announced it will “invest” $2 million of OUR county taxpayer dollars to buy hotel rooms for illegals.  The Border Patrol is overwhelmed.  They are now building large tents on the local military base (Davis-Montham) which will “temporarily hold” 500 illegals under one tent. Border Patrol is not testing for covid and not vaccinating the illegals they catch; which is opposite of what some bureaucrats are stating on the news channels. 

Border Patrol estimates they are catching 7/10 illegals crossing; but as they say- “we really don’t know”. This past week in Green Valley: 

1.  We live about a quarter mile from the open desert on the south and west side of Green Valley.  A Border Patrol helicopter was chasing illegals at 3 a.m. with search lights and a ground crew last week about a half mile from our house in the open desert.  

 2.  PIMA Community College (PCC) is also located on the west side of Green Valley and “butts up” to the open desert.  Last week Border Patrol tried to corral an estimated 200 illegals walking by PCC through the desert.  When Border Patrol arrived, the ~200 illegals fled in different directions. 

3.  Golfers reported a few days ago (on the golf course we live on)- that 5 illegals were literally running down the middle of a green fairway attempting to evade Border Patrol who were in pursuit with their pick-up trucks.  Border Patrol stopped their trucks and asked the golfers for their golf carts to continue pursuit.  When the 5 illegals (young men) saw Border Patrol now chasing them in golf carts they ALL dropped their back packs and continued running.  Another Border Patrol Agent was filming this and grabbed yet another golf cart to secure the 5 back packs.  What did he find?  The back packs were full of hand guns, extra clips, and ammo.  They did catch and arrest all 5 illegals.  Came to find out they were “really bad hombres” with criminal records. 

Nobody has been hurt and property damage has not happened (yet) in Green Valley; but not so in Tucson. Local news (including our little Green Valley newspaper) choose not to share these real life stories. Where is the honesty in our press? Today, Marguerite and I cleaned out our closets and took a few bags of clothes over to a donation station in Green Valley. A group of citizens were on a major street intersection waving American Flag(s), a Trump flag, and holding signs asking WHERE is Biden and Kamala to address their decision of relaxing our border protections? Good question. Perhaps the local press WILL cover this “violent mob- filled with right wing, flag waving, racist, white supremacists”?

This is real folks. Since early February things have really changed- we are being overwhelmed with illegals from multiple countries. Unfortunately within these groups are child molesters, child traffickers, criminals, rape trees with panties as trophies being displayed in the desert, dead bodies in the desert, weapons, drugs, covid/other diseases?; resulting in our county tax payer money being pissed away, tent cities being built with federal tax payer dollars, local religious organizations are overwhelmed, etc. Thought you would want to know the truth and the seriousness of this situation- “from a snowbird local”. We are heading back to Wisconsin in a couple of weeks to enjoy late spring/summer/fall…good timing.

American Dirt

STEINBECK: GRAPES OF WRATH. Wraparound jacket of the first edition, 1939, of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, John Steinbeck’s novel of ‘Okies’ forced to migrate from the Dust Bowl
American Dirt, Lydia and Luca

The title of this post is also the title of a book I am reading. A catch phrase by Don Winslow, a commenter, forced me to pick it up and check it out; the phrase, “A Grapes of Wrath for our times.” I loved the Grapes of Wrath as a story by John Steinbeck, and as a movie starring Henry Fonda. The story involves the futile migration of a family desperate to survive. Their story begins in the great flatlands of the midwest, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, or any number of states that are agricultural. The time frame is the Great Depression. Many farmers were poor share croppers, and during those years they experienced huge dust storms across the entire region causing them to lose their farms to banks. The Joad’s pile into their broken down truck and head to California to find work.

The story very explicitly details their experiences which get worse and worse as they head down the road like having to bury grandma along the road side. They reach California only to learn that the jobs they were envisioning didn’t exist, and the competition for the few that did was fierce. Locals treated them like garbage and made life even harder. The story had me hooked to the end.

America Dirt is a story about a family of two that must escape Mexico to remain alive. In this situation it is not nature that is causing the hardship it is a drug cartel led by a ruthless kingpin. The story is one which will grip you by the heart and keep you reading. The trouble the heroine undergoes trying to evade the cartel is relentless. She, however, stays strong and manages to evade the country-wide search for her. She has a bounty on her head, and can trust no one. Her trouble escalates as she proceeds northward toward the United States where she believes she will finally be free.

Many times, I have boasted about being a conservative and have written about the evils placed upon our country by the thousands of “illegal” immigrants sneaking across the border into our sacred space. Over the years, I have read numerous books extolling the cost of allowing these people to remain in the USA, and I even read one book about the life of a Coyote whose business it was to sneak these people across the line. This book, however is from the point of view of the immigrant. I have learned the conditions that have driven these people to flee. I am learning of the hardships they face to make the long trip across Mexico (as long as two thousand miles) to the border. I am finding that once they get to the border they meet another impediment in the form of a wall, ICE, US Border Patrol, and more.

I have not yet reached the point in the story to know what hardship they actually meet at the border, but the hardships along the trip are enough to change my mind about letting these people into our safe space. Anyone who can endure the difficulty of traveling with only the clothes on their back, shoes on their feet and perhaps a few dollars while dealing with the cartels, desperados, kidnappers, human smugglers and the many criminal elements all across Mexico have earned my sympathy. I am changing my mind about how we should deal with these immigrant people.

The problem I have is that all my ideas involve changing the criminal elements along the way. Control the cartels, eliminate local government and police corruption, establish migrant stations along the major routes. All of these things that I believe have to change are outside the periphery of US control. We the United States cannot move into Mexico and clean up their centuries of graft and criminal activity. Even if we were able to clean up Mexico we would then have to move into Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the remaining Central American countries to clean up their acts. We would have to annex them into the country as states. The cost would be more than we can afford, although the cost of allowing the thousands of migrants coming through illegally is nearly as high.

Everyone who has a problem with illegal immigrants coming from Central America should read American Dirt to learn first hand what the problems are.

It would be easy for me to promote American Dirt as a learning experience except that it is fiction, not a non-fiction story based on facts and real experiences. Just like the Grapes Of Wrath chronicled the Joad’s moving through the dust bowl to the land of eden called California was fiction. Both stories have parallel themes which are based on realistic happenings, but they do not contain hard evidence to support the truth with facts. I do, however, believe that both John Steinbeck, author of the The Grapes of Wrath, and Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt had to have some living experience with the peoples who became characters in their stories. If not, then my hat goes off to each of them for having the imagination to write very believable and moving stories.

Now, I must post this essay and return to reading the end of American Dirt. Perhaps the end of the story will become a topic for another post.

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