Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Last Call For A Picture Perfect Heist

Doing some digging, I've found that it's looking more and more like that Sony Pictures hack I referenced in today's StupidiNews wasn't a North Korean attack after all and is actually far worse than anyone thought, to the point where this may be an inside job that could put Sony Pictures down for the count.

On November 24 the world found out that Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked and had disabled its entire corporate network, including locations that spanned Culver City, New York, and overseas. 
This breach has very few analogues in history, outside of the Snowden documents, to any other type of breach on record. The combined corporate intellectual property,financial and legal information, contact databases and health records, passwords and encryption keys for Sony Pictures Entertainment can’t be compared to a breach of a retailer’s email or credit card database. 
Home Depot said that 53 million email addresses were swiped in its recent data breach, where 56 million credit card accounts were also compromised. 
But in the case of Sony’s compromise, individual files can be spreadsheets with multiple records each. Some of the 38 million (known) files exfiltrated in this carefully planned attack are entire databases. 
This is comparative to source code being leaked. Unpublished scripts for movies, contract negotiations, NDA’s (thousands are listed), secret terms for payment schemes, the very information Sony uses to keep its entire company relevant, are in the stolen files
The benefits to Sony Pictures Entertainment competitors — Universal, Warner, Disney — in terms of competitive intel, is priceless.

The group behind this is calling itself the "Guardians of Peace".  What they want is simple: Sony changes its corporate culture (it's not like Sony's super nice or anything) or they keep drip-drip-dripping out secrets.  And when your entire company is built on intellectual property, can see where this is going.  They've already distributed a partial release to let everyone know just how serious this is:

Salted Hash reported, “GOP says they’ve accessed private key files; source code files (CPP), password files (including passwords for Oracle and SQL databases), inventory lists for hardware and other assets, production outlines and templates, as well as production schedules and notes.” 
The file hit Reddit, and commenters noted they’d found over 9,000 passport scans listed in the file (including Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig and Cameron Diaz). There are over 3,800 files named ‘password.’ 
If you’ve ever worked with, or even tangentially for, Sony Pictures Entertainment, this crew and anyone who gets ahold of these files have all of your personal information, your private information, and anything else Sony touched
There are filenames listing over 8,000 non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s), and over 6,000 files named MPAA. There are files with Pirate Bay in the title, as well as MEGA (Megaupload). Some file names are specific, like the ‘MPAA piracy project lunch receipt’ filename. Financials on pirated media losses dating back as far as 2006. One Redditor found the file for his Imageworks letter of resignation, dating back to 2005.
Basically, if you’ve ever had a tangle with Sony Pictures, or Sony Entertainment ever thought about putting you in its legal crosshairs you’re in there, too. 
GOP left an interesting clue in its communication with media outlets after this release; this hacking crew appears to welcome press inquiries, though we can only hope the journos emailing GOP have half a clue about operational security. 
The attackers said they had physical access. Communicating with Salted Hash Tuesday morning, GOP’s ‘Lena’ said, “I’ve already contacted the UK register with details.” 
However I’ll tell you this. We don’t want money. We want equality. Sony left their doors unlocked, and it bit them. They don’t do physical security anymore.”

So yeah, these guys are quite serious about wrecking Sony Pictures and they don't give a damn about how many lives get destroyed in the process.  You can call them what you want to, but if you were a Sony employee and your personal info was just leaked to every hacker on the net, the next several years of having to fight identity theft would probably not make you want to consider these guys heroes or anything.

Bibi Cleans House

Some people just don't respond to criticism well at all.  You know, people like Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who responded to criticism of his policies last week from Justice Minister Tzipi Livni by firing her and scrapping the entire government.

In a decisive move after days of intense political bickering, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel fired his centrist finance and justice ministers on Tuesday and called for the dissolution of Parliament and early elections. 
Mr. Netanyahu excoriated Yair Lapid, the finance minister, and Tzipi Livni, the justice minister, for attacking his government and its policies from within in recent weeks, declaring in a statement, “I will no longer tolerate opposition from within the government.” 
Israel’s march toward early elections set out last week with a political row over a nationality bill. This week it morphed into a clash over proposed housing changes and the state budget. 
But Israeli political analysts said the move toward new elections, 20 months after the current coalition was sworn in, was not about nationality or reduced-cost housing or any other issue of ideology or principle. 
Instead, they said, Mr. Netanyahu had simply had enough of his fractious coalition partners and wanted a more manageable government made up of rightist allies and the ultra-Orthodox parties he has long considered his natural partners.

I mean it's a parliamentary system, so Bibi can do this, but the catch is he then faces elections and could be deposed if he doesn't win enough seats.  Of course, the prevailing mood is that Bibi's far-right Likud Party and its even more right-wing allies will gain seats at the expense of Livni and Lapid's more moderate factions, and that's a bad thing.

Lapid was canned because, now get this, he thinks the US is okay and that Netanyahu has been "condescending" to President Obama.  Speaks worlds of Bibi to fire the guy for doing that.

We'll see where things end up after elections in March.

Doing The Business Of The People, Sure

Apparently Republicans in Congress are going to put their "We Hate Obama" whining down on paper and censure the President, or something.

Republican House leaders have been mum on how they'll respond to Obama, and are waiting to gauge the level of enthusiasm for a censure vote on Tuesday during their first full conference meeting since the president announced his actions.

The "censure" strategy has much of the bombast of impeachment — a formal vehicle for Republicans to vent their disapproval of Obama, and throw red meat to the conservative base — without the risks of a politically nuclear confrontation that could backfire on them (not to mention, a guaranteed failure to obtain the two-thirds majority required in the Senate to remove the president from office). 
But there's one big problem with this plan: censuring the president might be unconstitutional. Or at least, any censure resolution that would meaningfully punish the president risks violating the Constitution, legal experts say. 
"If you can put together in the abstract a resolution that does nothing more than express disapproval, I think it's possible for Congress to do that. But you can't do more than that," said Michael J. Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, who has written a law review article exploring the issue. "I think any impact beyond expression would pose a constitutional problem for the attempted censure." 
Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe said a congressional resolution to censure a president is not clearly authorized by the Constitution, "so a strict constitutionalist would say that it's an action beyond the authority of Congress."

The clown show continues and Republicans are stumbling all over themselves trying to make up special Double Secret Probation status for Obama because passing jobs legislation is not something the people they work for (massive multinational corporations and banks) want.

But that's what you voted for in 2014, folks.


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