Massive U.S. Military Social Media Spying Archive Left Wide Open in AWS S3 Buckets

November 18th, 2017

Via: The Register:

Three misconfigured AWS S3 buckets have been discovered wide open on the public internet containing “dozens of terabytes” of social media posts and similar pages – all scraped from around the world by the US military to identify and profile persons of interest.

The archives were found by UpGuard’s veteran security-breach hunter Chris Vickery during a routine scan of open Amazon-hosted data silos, and the trio weren’t exactly hidden. The buckets were named centcom-backup, centcom-archive, and pacom-archive.

CENTCOM is the common abbreviation for the US Central Command, which controls army operations in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. PACOM is the name for US Pacific Command, covering the rest of southern Asia, China and Australasia.

Vickery told The Register today he stumbled upon them by accident while running a scan for the word “COM” in publicly accessible S3 buckets. After refining his search, the CENTCOM archive popped up, and at first he thought it was related to Chinese multinational Tencent, but quickly realized it was a US military archive of astounding size.

“For the research I downloaded 400GB of samples but there were many terabytes of data up there,” he said. “It’s mainly compressed text files that can expand out by a factor of ten so there’s dozens and dozens of terabytes out there and that’s a conservative estimate.”

Just one of the buckets contained 1.8 billion social media posts automatically fetched over the past eight years up to today. It mainly contains postings made in central Asia, however Vickery noted that some of the material is taken from comments made by American citizens.


Support Cryptogon with Bitcoin Cash

November 17th, 2017

High fees and slow confirmations have made Bitcoin very unpleasant to use. How about supporting Cryptogon with some of your cheap to use and fast confirming Bitcoin Cash? Current cryptocoin addresses are always on the support page.

Want to send some other coin? Just let me know and I’ll generate a wallet address for you. Thanks!


Say Hello to $3 Trillion in Forgotten Debt

November 17th, 2017

Via: Bloomberg:

Companies have been on a borrowing binge, but you wouldn’t always know the full scale of their liabilities by looking at the balance sheet. This makes it hard for investors to compare businesses that fund their activities in different ways. Happily though, that’s about to change.

How come? The answer is buried in the notes to financial statements (you know, the ones you don’t bother reading). It’s here that companies have parked about $3 trillion in operating lease obligations, according to Bloomberg data. For non-financial companies, those obligations equate to more than one quarter of their long-term (on-balance sheet) debt.

Operating leases are actually pretty similar to debt. They represent money companies will be obliged to cough up in future to rent things like planes, ships and retail floor space. But right now you won’t find them on the balance sheet.


Airliners And F-15s Involved In Bizarre Encounter With Mystery Aircraft Over Oregon

November 17th, 2017

Via: The Drive:

Something quite out of the ordinary occurred in the skies over Oregon on October 25th, 2017. A mystery aircraft was flying in daylight hours among the steady stream of airliners that traverse from south to north, between locales in California and Nevada and cities like Portland and Seattle and beyond. The incident began, at least as best we can tell, around 4:30pm near the California-Oregon border and resulted in multiple pilot eyewitnesses, recorded air traffic control audio, and eventual confirmations from both the FAA and North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) that it did indeed occur.


Boston Dynamics Atlas Robot Does Backflip

November 17th, 2017

Via: Boston Dynamics:


Keystone Oil Pipeline Leaks in South Dakota

November 16th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) shut part of its Keystone oil pipeline system after a 5,000-barrel leak in South Dakota, the company said on Thursday, four days before neighboring Nebraska was set to decide on the company’s long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline.

Opponents of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline seized on the spill, saying it highlighted the risks posed by the XL project – which has become a symbol for environmentalists of fossil-fuel pollution and global warming.

TransCanada said in a statement it discovered the leak in the town of Amherst at 6 a.m. on Thursday after systems detected a drop in pressure, and that it was working with authorities as it investigates the cause.

South Dakota Department of Environmental and Natural Resources spokesman Brian Walsh said the leak came from an underground pipeline and that it had been contained at the site.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made Keystone XL a key plank in his energy policy and handed TransCanada a federal permit in March, reversing former President Barack Obama’s decision to reject the line on environmental grounds after years of study.

Trump has argued that the 830,000-barrel pipeline, which would serve as an extension of the existing Keystone system linking Alberta oil to U.S. refineries, will lower fuel prices, shore up national security and bring jobs.


Military Coup in Zimbabwe

November 15th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

Zimbabwe was on a knife’s edge on Thursday after the military seized power in what it dubbed a targeted operation against “criminals” in the entourage of President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the southern African nation for almost four decades.

It was not clear whether the apparent military coup would bring a formal end to the 93-year-old Mugabe’s rule. The main goal of the generals appeared to be preventing Mugabe’s wife Grace, 41 years his junior, from succeeding him.

Local media reported South Africa’s defense and state security ministers, dispatched by President Jacob Zuma as regional envoys, arrived in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, on Wednesday night and were expected to meet both Mugabe and the military. Their ultimate goal was not clear.


Brokerage Chief: Bitcoin Futures Must Be Quarantined

November 15th, 2017

Via: CoinDesk:

A well-known electronic brokerage firm is issuing dire warnings against the CME Group’s plan to launch a bitcoin futures contract next month.

But Interactive Brokers, in a comment letter dated Nov. 14, suggested a way to mitigate the risk it sees from such activity: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), under the auspices of J. Christopher Giancarlo, should sequester systems that handle cryptocurrency derivatives.

“This letter is to request that the Commission require that any clearing organization that wishes to clear any cryptocurrency or derivative of a cryptocurrency do so in a separate clearing system isolated from other products,” wrote Thomas Peterffy, chairman of Interactive Brokers.

“If the Chicago Mercantile Exchange or any other clearing organization clears a cryptocurrency together with other products, then a large cryptocurrency price move that destabilizes members that clear cryptocurrencies will destabilize the clearing organization itself and its ability to satisfy its fundamental obligation to pay the winners and collect from the losers on the other products in the same clearing pool.”


Venezuela Defaults on Foreign Debt Repayments

November 15th, 2017

Via: Radio New Zealand:

The ratings agency said the South American nation had failed to make $200m in repayments on its foreign debt.

Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA has also been declared in default by rating agencies Fitch and Moody’s.

The news came just hours after the government met investors in Caracas to try to renegotiate its debt.

Standard & Poor (S&P)’s declares a “selective default” when a country has failed to pay one or more of its financial obligations when it came due.

In the case of Venezuela, the government of President Nicolás Maduro failed to make $200m in payments on two global bond issues by 12 November, when a 30-day grace period expired.

S&P said Venezuela is also overdue on four other bond payments worth a total of $420m but that the grace period has not yet expired on those payments.

Venezuela’s total external debt, which also includes loans from countries like Russia and China, is thought to be as much as $140bn.


Surveillance Cameras Made by China Are Hanging All Over the U.S.

November 13th, 2017

Via: Wall Street Journal:

The Memphis police use the surveillance cameras to scan the streets for crime. The U.S. Army uses them to monitor a base in Missouri. Consumer models hang in homes and businesses across the country. At one point, the cameras kept watch on the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

All the devices were manufactured by a single company, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology . It is 42%-owned by the Chinese government.

Hikvision (pronounced “hike-vision”) was nurtured by Beijing to help keep watch on its 1.4 billion citizens, part of a vast expansion of its domestic-surveillance apparatus. In the process, the little-known company has become the world’s largest maker of surveillance cameras. It has sold equipment used to track French airports, an Irish port and sites in Brazil and Iran.


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