Welcome back from what I hope was a delightful weekend for you and yours. Pretty chill around here…a good thing.
Some of our weekend accomplishments included several new items off the 3D printers, a well-manicured lawn, lots of work on the space-time bending problem, and pages 49-77 of my newest book “Packing to Die: Suitcase between your ears” ready for Peoplenomics.com subscribers tomorrow.
Since the news flow is light, and nothing that can’t wait until the open – given the paucity of data until Wednesday afternoon’s Fed Minutes – it wouldn’t hurt to talk about something many people aren’t clear on.
Growth of Digital Thievery
Extensible thinking is what we do a lot of around here: We like to take solid – experience-based works – of others and then extend them in order to better understand where Future is taking us.
This morning, reading an article on G.A. Stewart’s website (“SELLING CHRISTIANITY – The Age of Desolation site’) reminded me we haven’t had a major discussion of how “value” has “crossed the divide” into digital (plus notional) realms. Digital and notional theft is reworking definitions of “crime.”
Take the big data heist presently underway. Even this morning the scale of the attack (commenced Friday) is still being estimated. Some good preliminary guidance is found in Kaseya ransomware attack affected at least 1,500 businesses – TechStory
Military and computational affairs contributor ‘warhammer‘ after his oak leaf B52 days went into expert realms of computational risk, so his perspective on the growth rate of digital crimes is certainly pertinent: it outlines the evolutionary advances in cybercrime.
“Ure no doubt aware of most of this info. I just wanted to make sure you have it handy for reference or footnoting as necessary.
First, the Office of personnel Management hack in 2015: Office of Personnel Management data breach – Wikipedia
This was quite serious at the time as it involved ‘not only’ personnel who had undergone high level security background checks. As part of filling out the Standard Form (SF) 86, one must list, name by name, immediate family members, DOBs, addresses, phone numbers and their relationship. This info was also compromised, a fact not widely advertised by the OPM. The SF 86 also details all foreign travels conducted since one’s birth (if new) or since one’s last re-investigation. Locations must be listed with addresses. Literally EVERY individual with a security clearance very likely had their personal data and the data of their family members hacked. Those of us falling into that category get free credit fraud alerts for life from Equifax (nice of ‘em, eh!). Not so much for our family members. Makes me feel like Covid infected bat guano.
China’s nesting of super-microchips on motherboards manufactured for use by DoD weapon systems, command and control and also major U.S. commercial manufacturers is the next major hack – this one physical, with a huge amount of systems and commercial vendors affected: The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies – Bloomberg
Next, the 2020 SolarWinds Federal Government hack:
The attack, which had gone undetected for months, was first publicly reported on December 13, 2020, and was initially only known to have affected the U.S. Treasury Department and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the following days, more departments and private organizations reported breaches…
Corporate hacks are too many to mention, and most are not reported. This article details the top ones in the last several decades or so: The 15 biggest data breaches of the 21st century | CSO Online.
And most recently, the slew of ransomware attacks on small to large businesses: Russian hackers REvil claim to have infected a MILLION firms in massive cyber attack & demand $70M ransom in Bitcoin (the-sun.com)
. . . and the Colonial Pipeline ransomware hack of May 2021: Colonial Pipeline CEO Tells Why He Paid Hackers a $4.4 Million Ransom – WSJ.
Our networks are essentially completely compromised. Until trusted and secure work-arounds are developed, only hope of keeping data relatively secure is to implement encryption protocols, which unfortunately slow computer speed and data transmission rates.
As I think of more, I’ll throw the stuff your way. Starting with Stuxnet and going forward from there, this has turned into a geopolitical weapon of espionage if not outright clandestine warfare, often with kinetic vice purely virtual effects.
This is where it gets Interesting. Think hydroelectric dam and nuke power plant control, power grids, rail switching, ATC systems, SATCOMS and more. I’m thinking the folks at Homeland Security don’t get much sleep these days. And it’s only going to keep getting worse.
On that happy note . . .”
We assume you saw the CBS piece “Unprecedented Russian hack accessed government secrets (msn.com)?” SolarWinds – the gift that keeps on paying.
With respects to the people staffing Homeland Security’s US-CERT: United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (cisa.gov), most people have not made some key evolutionary leaps in their thinking to keep pace with modern risks.
Hacking Willie Sutton
America’s understanding of “crime” is terribly disconnected from modern technology. We’re operating back in the “trunk of cash or gold” on a stage coach mentality. Not entirely our fault: That’s what most of us were raised on: Westerns with an occasional train robbery and a silver shipment, as well. Programming of the public is out of date!
But if you want to understand crime, you’ve got to go deeper than Lex Luthor (played by Gene Hackman in Superman: The Move, 1978, Superman II, 1981, and Superman IV, 1987). My favorite is Bank robber Willie Sutton. Wiki him and you’ll find he was…
“William Francis Sutton Jr. (June 30, 1901 – November 2, 1980) was an American bank robber. During his forty-year robbery career he stole an estimated $2 million, and he eventually spent more than half of his adult life in prison and escaped three times. For his talent at executing robberies in disguises, he gained two nicknames, “Willie the Actor” and “Slick Willie”. Sutton is also known as the namesake of the so-called Sutton’s law, although he denied originating it.”
Although Sutton was famous for (*allegedly) saying “I rob banks because that’s where the money is...” Which then spawned Sutton’s Law which is taught in med schools, the useful quote on point this morning is:
“Go where the money is… and go there often.”
Which neatly explains the astronomic rise in cyber crime. Enforcement is difficult which (to gamblers is the risk-reward ratio) makes a good cybercrime far preferable to gun play in a bank, for example.
At some point, it ought to become obvious to clear-headed people (both of us?) that digital crime works best with a digital currency. It’s using the keyboard as a getaway car and its range is global.
As a result of last week’s hack, we see Bitcoin this morning wavering around the $34,000 level and ask: “Is this because people are trading digital tulips or because honest business is buying up Cryptos now to use as payoff money to what we’d label the “Clickanostra?”
Cryptos & “Broken Tulips”
Are we setting up for a technology bust? Because despite all this (seemingly unlimited) hype, block-chain technology is just an anti-copy tool.
With cryptos now rolling from a “banking savior” and “alternative finance” role, we have to wonder is there isn’t a parallel to Broken Tulips.
If you didn’t know “tulip colors” can be caused by a virus go read the NY Times piece from 2017 Broken Tulips: ‘That Last Gasp of Beauty Before Death’ – The New York Times.
The parallels to the evolution between cryptos and actual tulips is both useful and important.
While stocks are set up open flat, we’re watching for hints…
…Of What’s to Come
Commodities today aren’t moving too much: Lumber contract is around $782 – less than half of two months back, or so.
Gold, silver, oil and the PGMs were up while rough rice, canola, and wheat were down.
Mostly, we’re waiting for people to sense the end of the blockchain hype. But we’re in oil tanker country: You can put the helm “hard over” on an oil tanker and not have it really turn much for one or two kilometers.
News hype is like that: Whereas an oil tanker might take 15-minutes to come to a full stop, same thing is true in news inferences. Like the lumber price story. It’s been over for weeks now, yet the media will use fully 4-6 months to bring that “higher home prices because of lumber prices” story to a halt.
The sequence is:
- Data trends change (*price charts)
- Experts notice
- Generalists notice
- Media hype begins
- Public catches on
- Chain reactions occur (investment switches and such)
- And then the Data changes again…
These factors vary by market, investor interest, media hype, and hedge funds and other monetizing the change. But, you get the idea: hysteresis. (“Hysteresis is the dependence of the state of a system on its history. “)
Florida Does Blow
Not Miami’s vice this time: Tampa/Saint Pete’s:
Meanwhile, East Texas continues having a delightfully cool and wet summer. Golf course lawn this year. Sadly, though, the drought out West has been expanding:
This is not particularly encouraging on the food front.
Troubles are becoming apparent in a wide swath from the Southwest up through the Colorado Front Range (Drought forces Grand Junction to dip into Colorado River (sltrib.com)) while the Canadian wheat belt is also in a world of hurt this year. Manitoba municipality declares state of agricultural disaster due to drought, record-breaking heat (reposted by msn.com).
All this argues for (not to get preachy, mind you) a real incentive to have your home equipped with some basic garden and water collection effort. Much higher payoff than playing video games, right?
No, he doesn’t walk on water: NBC News historian fawns over Biden’s ‘half-century’ of political experience: He’s made ‘very few mistakes’. Huh?
Gender monetization of Booze? In the Male World of Whiskey, More Women Are Calling the Shots. (Although Elaine’s a fan of old single malts and has been since partying with Eve…back when I was trying on fig leaves, lol)
Not much of a Holiday...because it’s also being used for political division. Try Black Dems and NPR trashed the Declaration of Independence yesterday – American Thinker for starters.
Also using the occasion to divide? Leftist squad democrat Cori Bush. Cruz excoriates Cori Bush’s ‘stolen land’ tweet as ‘divisive lies’ | Fox News.
Nope, not much of anything to see here…move along, citizen. More tomorrow on Peoplenomics…
Dow futures down 30 S&P down 2 with 90 minutes to the open.
Write when you get rich (and that terrible headache goes away, lol),