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CIA spied on the governments of 120 countries for many years using a cryptosystem

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States and West German intelligence have seen secret messages from governments in more than 120 countries with the help of the famous Swiss company Crypto AG, which has earned millions by selling its devices to many states.

According to a joint investigation by The Washington Post and the German broadcaster ZDF , Crypto AG, a Swiss communications encryption firm, secretly worked with the CIA and West German intelligence. For many years, the company sold devices to foreign governments to spy on messages that its users considered encrypted.

Journalists talked about the details of a multi-year agreement that allowed the United States and its allies to gain access to encryption equipment shipped to more than 120 countries in the 21st century. Crypto’s customers were Iran, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Syria and even the Vatican. At the same time, the Soviet Union, and later Russia, as well as China, have never been clients of Crypto. A CIA report said that US intelligence read up to “80-90 percent of the Iranian government’s reports.”

The authorities of the countries using Crypto devices to protect their communications did not know that they were designed specifically so that Western intelligence officers could easily crack codes used by foreign governments to send messages. During the operation, first known as Thesaurus and then Rubicon, the CIA regularly intercepted secret correspondence, with the help of which it informed the American administration about global military operations, hostage crises, killings and bombings.

“It was a reconnaissance coup of the century,” the CIA report said, one of the documents received by The Washington Post and ZDF as part of their investigation. “Foreign governments did not know that they paid good money to the USA and West Germany for the privilege that their most secret messages were read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries,” the document says.

Crypto AG was founded by a native of Russia Boris Hagelin, who fled to Sweden after the October Revolution of 1917. He arrived in the United States in 1940 and offered the U.S. Army an M-209 encryption machine, which was less complex and voluminous, like the famous Nazi Enigma. The Pentagon became the first customer of the company founded by Hagelin in Switzerland, having purchased 140 such machines for its needs. After Hagelin created a more advanced cryptosystem in 1955, the American authorities, according to journalists, made a deal with him, which ultimately led to the start of Operation Thesaurus. In cars sold to foreign countries, intelligence officers began to place bookmarks that allowed reading information of interest to Western intelligence.

Journalists managed to gain access to the CIA report of 2004, the company itself suspended operations in 2018, since its services, taking into account the rapid growth of closed communication systems and protection technologies, were not in demand.

The Swiss government has officially opened an investigation into Crypto, according to Swissinfo, the International Service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. The general export license for Crypto devices was suspended “until the circumstances of the investigation are clarified.”

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Underworld

The main threat to humanity from Starlink and OneWeb satellites

In just four launches, the private space company SpaceX became the operator of the largest satellite constellation in Earth orbit, and there are plans to increase the number of vehicles by 175 times. This fact makes us wonder what man-made “constellations” are in the near future for mankind. Oddly enough, the primary problem is not a potential nearby space littering, but vulnerability to cybercriminals.

The main goal of projects such as Starlink (SpaceX, USA), OneWeb (United Kingdom), Kuiper (Amazon, USA) is to provide broadband Internet access around the globe. Each orbital constellation will differ in composition and some characteristics of data transmission systems, however, they are all fundamentally similar. These are relatively inexpensive (the order of prices is hundreds of thousands of dollars excluding launch) and small (weighing 100-300 kilograms) spacecraft (SC) operating, in contrast to existing satellite communications systems, in a low circular orbit (200-1200 kilometers) or orbits.

The low cost of each individual spacecraft (and, accordingly, of the entire project as a whole) is determined by the use of industrial components, which are mass-produced, as well as by conveyor assembly of satellites. Moreover, each of these products has its own propulsion system (for changing the orbit and orientation), a solar panel and a unit of several transceivers. Starlink satellites, for example, will completely communicate with each other via a laser beam, but so far the first phase of orbiters (240 pieces) is dispensed with.

In an ideal situation, everything looks great: you buy a budget terminal for yourself (the expected cost is up to a thousand dollars) and you can watch YouTube, read Wikipedia and download torrents absolutely everywhere (of course, only with Linux distributions). However, the devil was hidden in the details – because we do not live in an ideal world. And this was recently told by Phys.org, or rather, one of the authors of the subsidiary project The Conversation. This portal is intended for scientists, university professors and students so that they can express opinions, analyze and post their articles. Each material must be checked by professional journalists and more experienced members of the community.

Having collected a huge amount of information available in open sources, William Akoto came to the conclusion that the main threat to people and organizations using the services of such satellite communication providers are hackers. If Starlink, OneWeb and other projects have achieved at least most of the claimed characteristics, their audience will grow like an avalanche. Such Internet can be very profitable and convenient in the open sea, remote regions, as well as on airplanes and even in large cities at facilities where an alternative communication line cannot be temporarily or permanently drawn.

One of the key advantages of all such “constellations” of satellites in low orbit – low signal delay – may interest several types of very important customers at once. Firstly, these are infrastructure facilities and utilities in cases where data from them must be obtained promptly. Secondly, it’s the military, which will quickly “try out” the ability to control, for example, drones in real time (the signal lag is less than 100 milliseconds), and not as it is now available with a delay of 0.5-4 seconds, or even more. Thirdly, if the signal delays can be reduced to the promised minimum, Starlink and its competitors will become a very likely tool for traders and financial organizations, and this is money, a lot of money.

The problem with all these satellites lies in their main advantage – cheapness. Manufacturing companies save and will save on everything, which means that not the most obvious issue of cybersecurity may “fall under the knife”. If we add to this the electronic components of mass production, which are relatively easy to find and study, it turns out that hackers have all the cards on hand. Attackers are given the opportunity to analyze targets in such detail as it has never been possible for spacecraft.
And the most dangerous thing is the lack of a legislative base and normative acts concerning this issue. Who will be responsible for the overlooked vulnerability due to which hackers broke into several satellites and displaced them from orbit? if the criminals intercepted the traffic with the help of an extraterrestrial data exchange node and received important information, or even access to the country’s infrastructure facilities, how will responsibility be distributed in this case?

The problem with cybersecurity can manifest itself at all stages of the production process of projects such as Starlink and OneWeb. The use of mass electronic components, but not custom-made or in-house, leaves the opportunity for the contractor to add backdoors (“back doors”) to the design. The same goes for software, and almost to a greater extent.
These are not far-fetched situations: in the recent history of mankind there is already at least one confirmed hacker attack on a satellite. In 1999, attackers were able to remotely infiltrate the internal network of the Goddard Space Flight Center and gained access to computers responsible for monitoring the ROSAT X-ray orbital observatory. It is not known whether this happened intentionally or not, but cybercriminals experimented with various commands to the spacecraft and ultimately disabled it.

As a solution, one can propose the introduction of international standards for the creation and management of private satellite constellations and more stringent certification of such projects. Undoubtedly, Starlink, Kuiper and OneWeb are advanced technologies that are almost certainly good. However, along with progress, risks, sometimes serious ones, always keep pace. This is not a reason to abandon a bright future with Internet access from anywhere in the world, but a number of measures must be taken so that it is not overshadowed by the catastrophic consequences of rash decisions.

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Underworld

How do the media violate our right to mental independence?

One of the most important human needs in the 21st century is the right to mental independence, because every day our brain undergoes more and more intensive and frequent manipulations in the interests alien to our individuality.

Deafening advertisements and intrusive propaganda represent the most undisguised and shameless aggression against the human mind, which used to be the sacred refuge of the person’s self, and now has turned into a showroom, chaotically filled with political debates, carbonated and alcoholic products, cigarettes, cars, clothes of famous companies , cosmetics, gorgeous beaches, gorgeous women, investment tips, pornography – that is, entertainment and consumerism.

Television not only breaks into our brains, but also disturbs domestic peace, aggressively raining pictures of sex, violence, sadism, perversions, vulgarity and vulgar tearfulness on us, and only rare films and cultural programs are free from this.

On the other hand, our mental abilities are negatively affected by a high level of acoustic and environmental pollution, which fragmentes and weakens our brain, opening it for external influences.

Our mind is cleverly manipulated to get certain goods to buy, or to opt for certain political leaders, popular singers, television programs, social magazines, or ways to invest money.

The creation of artificial needs is an attempt on the right of free choice, carried out with the help of advertising, which quietly penetrates our brain at an unconscious level and forces us to do something that we never really wanted. This is done only for profit.

The gross manipulation of people’s behavior through the media, forcing them to accept what they in their right mind would probably refuse, is a serious violation of ethics.

In democratic countries, citizens are not obliged to meekly agree with what is imposed on them by authoritarian and unethical methods, dutifully tolerate a lack of publicity in judicial decisions, and passively bear the burden of excessive and unknown taxes.

Nevertheless, the whole world is subject to direct or indirect mental manipulations, the purpose of which is to subordinate citizens to someone’s dark interests.

People are convinced by acting on their subconscious:

– Take loans at predatory interest and feel happy to have the “privilege” from year to month to increase the capital of creditors.

– Hate the rich and despise the poor.

– Imitate the absurd patterns of behavior that promote television and film.

– To commit crimes, like movie heroes, reaching sado-masochism.

– Immerse yourself in rampant consumerism.

– Blindly imitate famous artists, musicians, characters of soap operas, vulgar and vulgar.

– Worship false values.

– Follow the implanted bad taste and rude farce.

– Follow herd behavior and become an obedient consumer.

– It is thoughtless to accept any norms under pressure of authority, no matter how contradictory or unfair they may be.

– Passively accept everything that is approved in the media.

You can endlessly give examples of manipulating the minds of people, since we are constantly confronted with this.

The principle of democracy – a government for the people – turns out to be perverted and trampled on, because people’s minds do not belong to them, but to the media and their owners.

The freedom of mental choice is violated at the root. Here is a statement by Karl Popper about the danger that television carries:

“A consequence of the principle of mass culture is that the public is offered programs of an ever worse quality that she likes, as they are seasoned with“ pepper, spices and flavor enhancers, ”such as violence, sex, sensuality … More and more spicy seasonings are added to food, to hide its deteriorating quality. The addition of salt and pepper allows you to swallow the inedible … Many criminals openly admit that it was television that inspired them to commit a crime. The power of television has become so great that it threatens democracy. No democracy can survive without putting an end to the abuse of power by television. Today this abuse is obvious. ”

What does the outstanding philosopher mean when he speaks of the abuse of power by television?

It is a legal (nonetheless immoral) invasion of people’s minds that directs them to violence, vulgarity, consumerism, acceptance of negative values ​​and real grotesque.

Abuses of the media are a form of ideological terrorism against humanity. They should be subject to strict control by the ethics council, which proposes the creation of Popper.

Television pounces on a person like a night robber on a victim, with incredible force invading the minds of children and adults and turning the freedom of choice of ideas into a romantic relic of the past.

Controlling people’s minds has become a great business today. Anyone with enough money can launch an advertising campaign and influence consumer behavior, which, in accordance with the prevailing economic system, is considered highly desirable, as it allows you to increase sales and make a profit.

However, the dilemma remains: how moral are such actions, since we are inclined to consume not only goods, but also values ​​and ideas. People are constantly “brainwashed” in order to direct their behavior into a channel that is beneficial to certain groups.

Even in ancient times, ambitious individuals found that managing someone else’s will can become an inexhaustible source of power. Unfortunately, there is no other way to defend against this kind of capture, except for strict control over your own mind.

The contradiction is that people obey the false and changeable opinion of “Her Majesty the crowd”, which is formed not by a bright mind, but comes, as a rule, from a group of ambitious people who use the crowd as an unconscious tool. Due to their authority, popularity or oratory, they have an undivided influence on the crowd, who are not aware of the true motives of such leaders.

Based on materials: Dario Salas Sommer. 21st Century Morale

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Underworld

This Story Behind Crocodile Louis Vuitton Bags Will Haunt You Forever!

WARNING: This article contains disturbing images and video not suitable for all viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

Over the past several years, animal rights activists have been protesting against the world-famous fashion designer Louis Vuitton, for its use of crocodile skins in its products. Organizations like PETA have exposed the brutal conditions at the crocodile farms where the designer sources leather for many of its products. In 2017, PETA even purchased a significant stake in Louis Vuitton’s parent company, LVMH, which allowed them access to shareholder meetings where they were able to question executives about their business practices.After years of pressure from activists, both in the streets and in the board room, LVMH promised to implement new measures to ensure a “responsible supply” of crocodile skins.

However, PETA responded to the announcement with a statement that said, “LVMH’s assurances of “responsibly-supplied” crocodile skin are tosh, given that it will apparently take the company nearly two years to get around to ensuring pretty much nothing. Most importantly, the standard won’t prevent the worst of the cruel practices: the method of slaughter, which consists of cutting the back of the crocodile’s neck and thrusting a metal rod down the live animal’s spine, causing unimaginable agony.”

The PETA spokesperson also pointed to other fashion designers such as Chanel, Victoria Beckham, Vivienne Westwood, and Diane von Furstenberg, who have promised to stop turning “exotic animals into fashion accessories.”

Some of the fashion accessories on Louis Vuitton’s website can go for as much as £31,000.

LVMH has promised to ensure that the animals are being treated with compassion while they are killed, but they have been unclear about the specifics of how their process has changed.

The footage below shows the results of a PETA investigation that initially exposed what was taking place in the production of Louis Vuitton fashion accessories. In the footage, the animals have their necks cut open and then have rods shoved down their throat while they are still alive. They are then skinned while they are still bleeding and moving. Next, they are confined to small, barren enclosures and packed into concrete pits before their skin is cut and pulled off.

PETA and other animal rights organizations do not believe that the production methods employed by LVMH have changed since their promise to improve standards last year, and are still campaigning for them to stop using exotic animal skins altogether.

Image Credit: Peta Asia

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