May 07, 2018
Signs, Portents and Ponderables
This story dates from March, but it caught my eye for a couple of reasons.
"We’re seeing members from all the three letter agencies,” said Fortitude creator Drew Miller, a retired Air Force colonel and intelligence officer, in a reference to the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The gentleman being quoted runs Fortitude Ranch, a prepper outfit that provides a number of fallout shelters and protected compounds around the U.S. in the event of a societal catastrophe.
The two facilities near D.C. are reportedly getting a lot of business from civil servants in agencies that would be standing duty during a crisis with the aim of protecting family members.
Over the last several years, there have been quite a few luxury bomb shelters in the news like Vivos that cater to millionaires and such. While those are certainly cause for interest with regards to what the rich and connected might be anticipating, this particular collection of facilities are interesting in part because of their austerity.
The underground portions of the compounds are not 5-star accommodations.
They do, however, appear to be reasonably well thought out and adequate.
The company requires that everyone familiarize themselves with their facilities weapons and stand watch at the gates in the event the area is habitable. They provide air transport from the many small airports in the DC area, to get the families to the facilities in a crisis.
One clever bit: they want their clients to be familiar with the facilities so they double as rustic resorts (as they have large acrerages and the east coast facilities are in the mountains) at which the members can relax and get training on the facilities weapons(!).
So why should this be of any interest:
The impression given by their approach and lack of granite countertops is that this series of shelters is for people who are...serious...about this sort of thing. More importantly, civil servants in the agencies that concern themselves with this stuff have reportedly looked at the situation the country is in and decided to put down money on it.
The whole thing brings to mind this...
Yes kids. It's time to get your bug out bags in order.
May 06, 2018
A Solution to the Fermi Paradox At some point every advanced species reaches such a level of prosperity and safety amongst their creative classes that whatever serves as their equivalent of an amygdala atrophies to such a degree that some theoretically intelligent minds conclude that an "internet of things" is a good idea and nobody has the good sense to tar and feather them.
The cyber threat hunters had honed their chops at the National Security Agency -- the world's premier electronic spy agency. And last fall, they were analyzing malware samples from around the world when they stumbled across something highly troubling: the first known piece of computer software designed to kill humans.
I suggest that you read the whole thing.
Now yes; " first known piece of computer software designed to kill humans" indicates a lack of understanding of how fire control systems work. But, they're talking about malware here so, all pedantry aside... There is a bit in the article about a particular company's policy not to provide information on the source of the attacks. I have some questions about that for my more technically inclined readers.
I would imagine that it is very difficult to achieve any certainty on where an attack comes from since it would seem likely that routing access through a third party one might want to frame would inherently be well within the capability of entities doing this sort of thing. I'm not particularly tech savvy so I have to ask if this is this even remotely correct.
Is it still considered best practice to have an air gap between one's equipment software and the internet? Obviously this is pretty much thrown out the window by the internet of things, which are all about convenience with little or no thought to security. However if someone's internet connected slow cooker is hacked there is a culinary mishap. If someone's refrigerator is hacked to empty their checking account and order 500 gallons of natto and boiled okra, then one person stupid enough to give his the refrigerator the keys to his Amazon account has learned a lesson. If these industrial systems are hacked we could have another Bhopal. Why is there a way to access these on site systems from the internet at all? Shouldn't that be on site?
Of course one needs the ability to send out a general alarm but that interface can be electro-mechanical and therefore nigh un-hackable, at least remotely.
Anyway, I'm curious what others have to say on this.
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