Thursday, March 28, 2013

Man-in-the-Middle Hack/Attack

The man-in-the-middle attack (MITM) or Janus attack is a form of active eavesdropping in which the
attacker makes independent connections with the victims and relays messages between them, making them believe that they are talking directly to each other over a private connection, when in fact the entire conversation is controlled by the attacker. It was designed to defeat public key cryptography first introduced to the internet as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP).
PGP can be used to send messages confidentially. For this, PGP combines symmetric-key encryption and public-key encryption. The message is encrypted using a symmetric encryption algorithm, which requires a symmetric key. Each symmetric key is used only once and is also called a session key. The session key is protected by encrypting it with the receiver's public key, therefore ensuring that only the receiver can decrypt the session key. The encrypted message and encrypted session key are sent to the receiver.
Early PGP software was pretty good until MIT bought the license, worked the software under a program funded by the National Security Agency and sold it to the public with a back door. A back door in cryptospeak is an engineered solution in the algorithm that will allow a third party to crack the cypher and thus, read your mail. The FBI and other federal law enforcement jumped on this MITM solution in the mid-1990's. Possibly as early as 1995 according to EPIC (see link below). 

This is now news because the FBI's use of Stingray, which facilitates a government-initiated MITM attack, is going to court. (EPIC Lawsuit) In the case, which you can read for yourself at the Electronic Privacy Information Center's website. 

The technology took quite a bit longer to reach Mexico, though it has been in use for at least the past three years. It will never be illegal for the government to use in Mexico, but explains why nobody is talking on cell phones.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Local 2544

You can only find the truth if you're not afraid of looking for it. This Blog, such as it is, has been dedicated to exploring a few facts that you may or may not find elsewhere. I don't have anything to do with the US Border Patrol and never have, so there's not any 'skin in the game' on my part. You'll find that for the most part they are under paid, overworked and are 'abused' by the Washington power structure. The Border Patrol (CBP) handles issues on the US Borders. Once the issue migrates to the interior, it falls under ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Both agencies fall within the US Department of Homeland Security.

This is a plug for the UNOFFICIAL U. S. Border Patrol Blog, posted by the Border Patrol Officer's Labor Union (Local 2544) (READ MORE HERE)

This is what Local 2544 says about themselves: "We are the largest local in the Border Patrol and the largest AFGE local in District 12 (covering Arizona, Hawaii, California, and Nevada). Our voluntary membership rate is over 95% of eligible bargaining unit members in the Tucson Sector. We have over 3,300 dues-paying members in this local. Our members are the real border security experts."

One good example of the difference between the Obama Administration's hype and the reality can be seen here: Throats being cut at "secure border".

Another place where you'll tend to find the truth is at the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officer's website. (READ MORE HERE)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter Break in Cancun

Over 45,000 young people will visit Cancun this year over Spring/Easter Break. But is it safe? It should be because firearms laws in Mexico are very strict... 

Narcotics in Cancun are distributed by cab drivers who weave and speed through the streets of the seaside resort. Sometimes the cab drivers keep the drugs or the money and have to be dealt with. Two narcos killed 7 narcotics distributors last week at the Mermaid Bar in Cancun. Four additional people were injured.

Usually American and Canadian parents simply worry about their children
coming home with a social disease or pregnant from Spring Break in Cancun. 
Key narcotics kingpins have ownership interests in Cancun - almost all of them do. Therefore one would think that they'd put a lid on the violence. They try. They really do. But that doesn't always translate into safe streets. Acapulco, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta have been prone to beheadings and gun battles in the streets and those socially unacceptable things led to parents feeling that their children could go to Cancun instead where you don't see narcomatas hanging from pedestrian overpasses. 

SEMAR has stepped up patrols to make partying young people feel safe. But it doesn't matter to the narcos. (LINK)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mexico - America's Basement Arms Supplier

Those half dozen of you who drift past this blog from time to time have heard me rant about the AK-47's that are coming north into the United States from Mexico, but this one will blow your skirt up just a little more.

The worst part of it is that it's confirmed - sorta. This morning, I woke up to a telephone call from 'my man in Jalisco'. 

Caller from Guadalajara: "Hey Juan, there are these gringos here who want to buy RPG-7 launchers and rockets. What should I do?"

Juan: "Send them home empty handed."

The Caller from Guad is not an arms merchant. But he knows arms merchants. The gringos in question are a delegation from a Red State in the US and are comprised, near as I can tell at this point of a dentist, two (possibly three) hardware store types, and an equal number of people from the church. I don't know what they do for a living. From what the Caller from Guad said, some learned Spanish undertaking missionary work in the past in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.

Caller from Guadalajara: "Do you want to talk to them?"

Juan: "No."

He puts the dentist on the telephone.

Dentist: "I'm Dr. XXXXX and we don't want trouble here in Mexico. We're down here looking for some RPG's."

Juan: "Are you frigging nuts?"

Dentist: "Things are getting serious in the US. The Department of Homeland Security is buying 2,700 tanks (MRAPs) to use on us and the President all but said that he plans to use drones to attack us. We need to have something that will be effective against armored vehicles and don't know where else to go."


I am not convinced that the USGOV bought 2,700 MRAPs to use against the lightly armed American public, but I have a few comments for President Obama - who will never read this blog. 

LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP, BARAK. You're scaring the strait, normal God fearing people and they're more afraid of YOU than they are of murderous drug cartels. They want to protect their homes and families against YOUR THUGS. That's just not right (maybe it's 'left').

There is no way to know whether these people took my advice and went home, were robbed, stripped and left by the roadside to hitchhike home or were buried in unmarked graves (common). The cartels and SEDENA have similar methods of operation. The Federales would have taken heavy bribes to release them from custody, etc. None of these outcomes is desirable, nor is the acquisition of RPG-7 anti-tank rockets. 

These guys pull and fill teeth and peddle nails and hammers for a living. They must be insane - or terrified - to be wandering around Guadalajara looking for rockets. But they are. And it is a very sad, sad commentary on the State of the Union in the US.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jaime Gonzalez Dominguez Muerte

Being a blogger on matters dealing with narcos, guns and Mexican politics can be a nasty business. Neither the Mexican politicians, the police, the military or the narcos themselves want you reporting on --anything. Jaime Gonzalez found out the hard way.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Fox News/AP) -- Gunmen shot dead an online journalist while he ate dinner at a taco stand in the border town of Ojinaga, across the border from Texas, authorities said Monday. 
Assailants killed Jaime Gonzalez Dominguez Sunday afternoon in the town across the border from Presidio, Texas, said Chihuahua state prosecutors spokesman Carlos Gonzalez. 
Gonzalez Dominguez published a news website called Ojinaga Noticias...The website didn't carry any major reports about crime or drug trafficking on Monday, when the main story was about the killing of the 38-year-old journalist, who was shot at least 18 times with an assault rifle.
The woman who stood next to Jaime Gonzalez was not injured when the narcos killed Jaime, which means that it wasn't the usual spray and pray murder in which the air is filled with bullets in the hope that one of them will strike the target. (sometimes they do - sometimes they don't) There is also the potential that the murder was part of a love triangle. Though the media has not yet speculated on that angle, I think that it's too early to rule that out.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Is the NSA Listening in to your Telephone Calls?

Everyone who I know in Mexico (MEXGOV officials and narcos) believes that their telephone calls are being listened to by MEXGOV, the cartels or both. I don't think that they are paranoid. They also feel that USGOV is listening in and I can't say that is necessarily off the mark.

But this blog post is about the US, not MEXGOV because having MEXGOV "illegally" wiretap is like dog bites man. It's not a story. The US is a bit more interesting because there are laws to protect unwarranted wiretaps on US Citizens. Everyone knows that the National Security Agency, headquartered at Ft. George Meade, Maryland acts like a vacuum cleaner where SIGINT is concerned and that sophisticated methods are used to sift that information that comes from a number of sources including (but not limited to) telephone conversations.

Some of these programs are discussed in a new book, "Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry", by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady. The book will be released on April 1, however having had access to it before its release, I can share what it says and you can decide whether or not to pay any attention to it. (how's that for a dodge and weave?) The authors also wrote "The Command: Deep Inside the President's Secret Army", which I have not read. It's available on Kindle for US$2.99.

The program that they cite is caveated RAGTIME (RT) and I suspect that if you nosed around you'd find documents classified TS/NF/WN/RT.

RAGTIME is subdivided into four categories. RAGTIME A are intercepts of foreign-to-foreign data. RAGTIME B is foreign intercepts made as it transits through US territory. RAGTIME C deals with intercepts of nuclear proliferation material and RAGTIME P are Patriot Act related intercepts.

Though I don't wish to over complicate the process with Cryptonyms. The National Security Agency specializes in 'data mining'. They sift through a large amount of bulk data that comes through the scoops that they've put into place. ANCHORY, the all-source database holds everything that comes in. HOMEBASE coordinates the data base with collection requirements set by the various components of the Intelligence Community, which task NSA.

Using link analysis as a basis for deciding what is and what is not important, the links between the known and heretofore unknown are given a score to both target validity and information in the context of probable reliability. Xkeyscore, once applied, directs the raw data to different 'selectors'. For example, AIRGAP is a selector associated with the Department of Defense (DOD). TINMAN deals with information that applies to both airborne warning and information that a component of CIA uses. WRANGLER organizes bits of data along a timeline to try and help all of it to make some sense.

The legality of various collection departments (can USGOV collect against a particular source) is a matter for attorneys and politicians to hash out. However, finding legal consensus is not always as easy as it may seem to be. This blog is not going to sort that out for you. Neither does it condemn the NSA or it's outreach to data delivered by T-MEX or the Mexican Intelligence Agencies (Mostly Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional, CESEN).

Friday, March 1, 2013

SECSTATE Kerry - Latin America Relations (and Drugs)

What about John Kerry, the new SECSTATE? Here's one piece of advice for Secretary Kerry, but it's advice that Kerry's master, President Obama isn't likely to agree with:

En su nuevo cargo de secretario de estado norteamericano, John Kerry tiene una gran oportunidad para compensar el desinterés con el que Obama trató a América Latina durante su primera presidencia. Como veterano observador de los asuntos de América Latina, creo que las principales prioridades de Kerry en la región deberían ser: (1) revivir un enérgico programa de libre comercio, (2) aumentar el apoyo que presta Estados Unidos a las instituciones que hacen cumplir la ley en países plagados por la violencia como Honduras y Guatemala, y (3) hacer de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) un vehículo más efectivo para promover y defender la democracia. Esas iniciativas enviarían señales positivas a los aliados y asociados democráticos de Washington. (Jaime Daremblum -- fue embajador de Costa Rica en los Estados Unidos) 
A friend of mine who works for USGOV explained the US ambivalence toward Mexico this way: It's difficult to get people to notice trouble in their own backyard. It's just tough - sort of like not cutting your own lawn because the neighbor across the street is shooting porno movies with the windows open.
President Otto Perez Molina
Secretary Kerry will continue to hand-hold with the authoritarian governments in Latin America because President Obama is more comfortable with them than he is with those governments who trend on the democratic side of politics. At the moment, George Soros (think what you will of him) is spending a lot of time in Guatemala, sleazing around with President Otto Perez Molina. Soros' official position is that he wants to combat illegal narcotics trafficking. If that's his intent, perhaps Perez Molina isn't the best of people to do it with because the esteemed president has been strongly alleged to be a major precursor dealer with Mexican drug cartels, Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion being the foremost. Maybe that's only in his past? Perhaps he has reformed and reinvented himself.

Even though Secretary Kerry doesn't seem to know it (yet), there are tense times coming for the Republic of Mexico as President Enrique Pena Nieto stands at the helm of the Mexican ship of state. That ship will be running over a lot of rocks and shoals this summer as they fight established drug cartels, all the time managing the drug business themselves more and more outside of traditional narco circles (with the intent of avoiding violence). It's like dancing on quicksand with a pogo stick. If Kerry and the Obama Administration link themselves too closely with the Mexican regime, they could very easily be accused of drug dealing themselves as the US closes on the 2014 mid-term elections.

The US is unlikely to give any serious attention to Latin America under an Obama Regime  (see the porno movie analogy above) because the President and the NSC is focused on Africa and the Middle East.