have run across an essay on aljazzera english by haroon meer entitled "lessons from anonymous", wherein he details some of the more salacious and telling revelations discovered in the cache of some 70,000 HBGary e-mails pilfered by the pro-transparency hacker collective known as anonymous.
it's all worth reading -- some already reported, some not. i found much to ponder in the excerpts regarding a firm known as endgame systems, a company so secretive that the CEO dictated that the company's name must never appear in any HBGary press release. this is hardly surprising, given that this outfit seems to exist primarily to abet governments in the commission of cybercrimes -- both foreign and domestic. check out the excerpt:
Endgame Systems, a company with almost no public footprint were also thrust into the spotlight, when several of their previously well-guarded reports and company presentations were shared amongst the emails.
In an early email to Aaron Barr, Endgame Systems made it clear that they had "been very careful NOT to have public face on our company". The CEO of Endgame Systems was clear: "Please let HBgary know we don't ever want to see our name in a press release."
So what exactly do the secretive Endgame Systems do? The company started by ex ISS and CIA executives promises (in private) "to provide our customers with the highest quality offensive CNA/CNE (Computer Network Attack/Computer Network Exploitation) software in the world".
Their overview makes it clear that they serve "the special requirements of the United States DoD and Intelligence Community".
Their leaked PowerPoint deck advertises subscriptions of $2,500,000 per year for access to 0day exploits, with slightly more affordable "intelligence feeds" effectively selling information on vulnerable servers by geographic region.
With a single report (and a big enough chequebook) you can find out all the servers vulnerable to attack in the Venezuelan government, along with the software required to exploit them. [Downloadable file]
the other day, i wrote about a businessweek story detailing how foreign governments or their proxies seemed to have almost unfettered access to the computer networks of some of the US' largest corporations. one might've come away from that piece thinking that the US government was failing to provide even elementary countermeasures against the sophisticated and well-managed exploits of the infiltrators.
it is pretty naive, i recognize, to think that the US government's clandestine services, on the other hand, aren't at least somewhat competitive in the field of cyber-terrorism and more garden-variety cyber-crime. there certainly is plenty of raw talent on offer, with the problems apparently the same ones that afflicts the US government (and country) generally: arrogance and overconfidence.
while, as the aljazzeera post recounts, aaron barr saw himself having almost superhero stature as cybersleuth, his oafish exploits and complete lack of self-discipline turned his great payday into a colossal humiliation, revealing to the clueless masses how widespread government-private chicanery is -- even while our national leaders have the nerve to lecture the rest of the world on ethics and moral rectitude. it is to laugh.
we live in a nation ruled by liars and hypocrites, whose ham-handed efforts to purvey falsehoods and silent dissent are exposed at every turn. meanwhile, the american hero bradley manning is left to rot in solitary confinement, humiliated daily, as retribution for his alleged role in exposing our hapless masters to the ridicule they so richly deserve.
meanwhile, one can only conclude that the unseen forces from abroad who are actually waging a cyberwar against the US and its corporate masters are succeeding wonderfully against a rival that is all hat and no horse, as they say in texas. is there any question why the US empire is quickly fading to black?