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Tag: Israel

The Shin Bet puzzle

Thursday, 11 May, 2017 0 Comments

The Israeli domestic security service Shin Bet has adopted some of the recruiting techniques pioneered by the British during World War II. This became evident with the recent publication of a puzzle in the media for anyone to solve. Some 60,000 people submitted answers but only six succeeded in solving the puzzle. These six are now candidates for jobs in the new Shin Bet Cyber War unit.

Shin Bet puzzle

In the Second World War, the British recruited “Codebreakers” by posting cryptic word puzzles in newspapers and asking those who could solve them to send their answers to a seemingly innocuous address. There was a series of crosswords and those who managed to complete them all were asked to join the services. An upside of this recruiting technique was that a lot of women became British spies. Some of them were Jewish and they moved to Israel after the war and contributed their experience to the emerging Israeli intelligence services.

Interestingly, the Shin Bet agents hired via the public puzzle technique will undergo the same training that has been developed for Israeli commando units and will end up with the military skills and physical toughness typical of regular commandos. In the future, when Israel sends a unit on a raid to eliminate adversaries and acquire technology, several of Cyber War commandos might go along. These “nerds” will be able to keep pace with the regular commandos and quickly identify enemy technology. They will then take or destroy the right items and help neutralize the bad guys.

Note of caution: Many of those who completed the British puzzles during World War II were not interested in a job in intelligence but simply enjoyed doing crosswords. And, despite their innovating recruiting methods, the British ended up hiring lots of left wing traitors who went to spy for the Soviet Union. Those like Kim Philby became experts in falsifying intelligence and one of their specialties was “facelifting” the image of anti-communist movements to make sure they got more assistance from the West. These groups were then betrayed and their members turned, tortured or murdered.


Barbarians And The Civilized

Friday, 10 March, 2017 0 Comments

That’s the title of a stimulating essay by the French writer Pascal Bruckner in the Winter 2017 issue of City Journal. It’s a continuation of the ideas he developed in his 2006 book La Tyrannie de la Pénitence: Essai sur le Masochisme Occidental (The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism), which was memorable for statements such as, “Europe relieves itself of the crime of the Shoah by blaming Israel, it relieves itself of the sin of colonialism by blaming the United States.”

In “Barbarians and the Civilized”, Pascal Bruckner argues that “The civilized man must constantly look barbarism in the face, to remember where he comes from, what he has escaped — and what he could become again.” Snippet:

“Today, being civilized means knowing that we are potentially barbarian. Woe to the brutes who think they’re civilized and close themselves in the infernal tourniquet of their certitudes. It would be good to inject in others the poison that has long gnawed away at us: shame. A little guilty conscience in Teheran, Riyadh, Karachi, Moscow, Beijing, Havana, Caracas, Algiers, Harare, and Islamabad would do these governments and their peoples considerable good. The finest gift that Europe could give the world would be the spirit of critical examination that it discovered and that has saved it from many perils. It is the best remedy against arbitrary violence and the violation of human rights.”

Since Le Sanglot de l’Homme blanc (The White Man’s Tears), Pascal Bruckner has fought valiantly against the anti-Western and pro-Third-World sentimentalism of the Left in the West. His Resistance continues.


Hacking the new world order

Thursday, 11 February, 2016 1 Comment

“Hackers used malware to penetrate the defenses of a Russian regional bank and move the ruble-dollar rate more than 15 percent in minutes.” So begins a recent Bloomberg story about a group of Russian hackers who infected Energobank in Kazan with the Corkow Trojan this time last year and placed more than $500 million in orders.

Hacked This is scary stuff, indeed, and hardly a day goes by now without some similar tale of nefarious hacking making the headlines. A lot of what’s going on is simply opportunistic crime being carried out by thieves equipped with keyboards as opposed to knives, but there’s a global dimension as well and this is what Adam Segal, Director of Cyberspace and Digital Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, addresses in his forthcoming book, The Hacked World Order: How Nations Fight, Trade, Maneuver, and Manipulate in the Digital Age. Snippet:

This new age of spying is more than a national security concern. Since much cyber-espionage targets commercial secrets, it poses a persistent threat to America’s economic strength. Many countries are snooping. The US Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX) names France, Israel, and Russia, among others, as states collecting economic information and technology from American companies. During the 1980s and ’90s, the business class seats on Air France planes were allegedly bugged. While the airline has long denied the allegations, French intelligence officials have been forthright about the strategic importance of industrial espionage. As Pierre Marion, former director of France’s Directorate-General for External Security, said with regard to spying on the US, “In economics, we are competitors, not allies.”

Historians looking for a date on which to pin the start of the Cyber World War might yet settle upon 2009, the year in which the Stuxnet virus was launched into an Iranian nuclear facility. The disclosure of the Sony Pictures hacking scandal in November 2014 is another historical milestone. Both reveal the geopolitical aspect of hacking and its potential impact on security, business and personal data. The Hacked World Order is timely reading and a useful guide to the dangers that lurk along the infobahn.

Note: “Trolls, Hackers and Extremists — The Fight for a Safe and Open Web” is the title of a discussion at the Munich Security Conference this evening.


Corbyn and the #JezWeCan crazies

Wednesday, 19 August, 2015 0 Comments

Corbyn “Jez we can! Corbyn draws thunderous support on rainy day”. So reports the Guardian about what actually was a very rainy day in rainy Middlesbrough. Here, at the HQ of the real Rainy Day, there’s no such support.

“Forget, if you like, Corbyn’s regular appearances on the TV channel RT, a state tool of Putinist propaganda; gloss over talk of his ‘friends’ in Hamas and Hezbollah, whom he defended on the grounds that he merely wanted all parties to be involved in negotiations with Israel. Put aside, even, his membership of the famously pro-Assad ‘Stop the War Coalition.'” That’s David Patrikarakos in POLITICO and “God’s gift to the Tories” is how he describes the Labour-leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, the Corbynites and their Obama-inspired #JezWeCan hashtag campaign.

“It is absurd, and it is disastrous: both for the party and for the country,” adds Patrikarakos, noting: “It’s all deeply disturbing of course. But it’s hardly surprising. The left has been indulging dictators and theocrats for almost as long as there has been a left. I don’t like it, but I understand it.”

Hope and change? The loony lefty is winning.

Private Eye


Cyberwar with Waze

Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 0 Comments

When Google paid $1 billion last summer for Waze, an Israeli firm that had created a traffic and navigation app for smartphones, The Economist mused that if the users’ data were built into Google Maps, it “should give a timelier, fuller picture of conditions on the roads.” That’s because motorists can use Waze to report traffic jams, accidents, roadworks, speed traps and fuel prices. The Economist also noted that Waze was hugely popular in Israel, with “almost 100% penetration” among smartphone-owning drivers, according to Yahal Zilka of Magma Venture Partners, which had led the first round of investment in the company.

But within that “almost 100% penetration” lies a grave danger. Check this out:

“As part of their studies in computer science at the Technion in Haifa, two students constructed a program capable of disrupting traffic reports provided by the popular navigation service Waze by creating fictitious traffic reports to steer drivers off course. Using the program that they constructed, the students were able to create a traffic jam that continued for hours and forced thousands of drivers to steer clear of their regular routes.”

The report by No Camels concludes: “The cyber attack simulated by the students could have severe consequences on traffic patterns, enabling a user to discourage drivers from using a toll road leading to bankruptcy for the traffic authorities…”

Given the shortage of employees skilled in dealing with cyberattacks, those Technion students should have no problems getting well-paid jobs at home or abroad.


Or, Ori and Eran, plus Dori, Nori and Oin, unite against passwords

Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 0 Comments

“Today we’re announcing that the SlickLogin team is joining Google, a company that shares our core beliefs that logging in should be easy instead of frustrating, and authentication should be effective without getting in the way.” That’s what Or, Ori and Eran posted on their site on Monday. The Israeli start-up has created technology that allows websites to verify a user’s identity by using sound waves. How does it work? By playing a uniquely generated, almost-silent sound through computer speakers that is picked up by an app on the user’s smartphone. The app then analyses the sound and sends a signal back to confirm the user’s identity. The technology can be used either as an additional security layer or, and this is potentially huge, a replacement for a password.

The Google acquisition coincides with a grassroots initiative called the Petition Against Passwords, which was started by people who want to get rid of passwords altogether:

“The mission of the Petition Against Passwords is to collect every frustrated yell at forgotten passwords and make sure the organizations responsible hear them. This movement is working on behalf of every person who has ever had their identity stolen, their password leaked, or been confused just trying to remember passwords and PINs for multiple sites.”

And so say all of us. We’re joined in our detestation of passwords and PINs by Dori, Nori, Ori, Kili, Gloin, Oin Fili, Dwalin, Bombur, Bofur, Bifur, Balin and Thorin Oakenshield.

Petition Against Passwords


Understanding Syria’s first family: like father, like son

Wednesday, 28 August, 2013 0 Comments

“To many people Syria is an object not just of suspicion but of mystery, and Asad’s moves are often seen as both malevolent and impenetrable. In the United States in particular, there is a certain incredulity that a small country with a population of under twelve million should have the effrontery to stand up for itself. Certainly, in defending Arab interests as he sees them, Asad has used skill, stealth and brute force to challenge the interests of others — Israel, its Western backers, and even those Arabs who do not endorse his strategy. Yet there is a poignancy about his story in that the task he assumed twenty years ago was larger than the means at his disposal. As the head of a relatively poor and underdeveloped country, he has had a basically weak hand, forcing him to play his cards close to his chest, a style which does not make comprehending Syria any simpler.”

Asad That’s an excerpt from Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East by Patrick Seale. Since it was first published in 1988, the population of Syria has grown to 21 million but the country is still ruled by the same family, although the favoured spelling is now “Assad”. It’s worth noting, incidentally, that a lot of what Patrick Seale wrote about Hafiz al-Asad a quarter of a century ago applies to his son, Bashar al-Assad. Consider this:

“Asad’s sense of limited resources and permanent siege have undoubtedly had an impact on the way he runs his country and conducts his diplomacy. His regime is a very personal one. He insists on controlling everything and in particular foreign affairs and information because, unlike more powerful leaders who walk away from their blunders, he can ill afford to make a mistake. At every stage he risks being knocked out of the game altogether, and that remains the main hope of his enemies.”

When the old butcher died in June 2000, control of Syria passed to his son, who has made some major mistakes of late and now risks being knocked out of the game altogether.

By the way, does anyone know what Patrick Seale is up to these days? His last column syndicated by Agence Global is dated 30 April. Since then, nothing. That April column is titled, typically, “How Israel Manipulates US Policy in the Middle East.” Like the elder Asad, Seale is obsessed by Israel and this fixation has deformed his writing on the Middle East. Still, he’s an expert on the region and, despite our differences, Rainy Day wishes him well and we hope that he’ll soon be adding his experienced voice to the Syria debate.


Israel and apartheid: The asinine Nigel Kennedy should stick to fiddling

Friday, 9 August, 2013 12 Comments

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a bit facile to say it, but we all know from experience in this night of music tonight that, given equality, and getting rid of apartheid, gives beautiful chance for amazing things to happen.” So spoke the British violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy at the Royal Albert Hall last night, following a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by the Palestine Strings, the Nigel Kennedy Quintet and Kennedy’s Orchestra of Life. The most repellent thing about Kennedy’s use of the word “apartheid” is that it was amplified and blessed by the BBC in its broadcast of this Proms concert. It would be too much, perhaps, to expect Kennedy to understand that unlike the racist South African apartheid laws, Israeli law guarantees Arab citizens the same rights as other Israelis.

Although vocal on Israel and its failings, Nigel Kennedy, like most “artists”, has been silent on Syria and its savagery. Apparently, no amount of butchery there can provoke a comment or a concert from those devoted to enhancing our cultural life. Still, it would be nice if Kennedy and his ilk were to comment on today’s Independent news story, headlined: “‘I lost consciousness in the blast. When I woke up I was in a hospital in Israel’: Casualties of Syria’s war find salvation in an unlikely place.” But because this does not fit the facetious “apartheid” narrative, an artistic response cannot be expected any time soon.

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The cat’s away and Der Spiegel will play

Tuesday, 8 January, 2013 0 Comments
The cat’s away and <em>Der Spiegel</em> will play

When it comes to mendacity in media, no one does it better than the German weekly, Der Spiegel. The popular magazine is a case-study in agitprop but it outdid itself as 2012 ended with the publication of an premature online obituary for the 41st President of the United States, George HW Bush. The author was […]

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@IDFSpokesperson is winning

Friday, 16 November, 2012 0 Comments

With 122,768 followers, @IDFSpokesperson, the Twitter handle of the Israel Defense Forces, is winning the real-time information war against the terrorists. Their voice, @AlqassamBrigade, “The official web site of Al Qassam Brigades in Palestine”, has managed just 14,539 followers, including many Western media representatives, who thereby combine professional obligations with undisguised sympathy. The Hamas cat’s […]

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A performing Seale among the Syrian butchers

Wednesday, 25 July, 2012
A performing Seale among the Syrian butchers

“When the matter of human rights is raised with Syrian officials — particularly the jailing under harsh conditions of civil rights activists and political opponents — they point to far greater abuses by the United States and Israel. Western actions, they claim, have damaged the cause of democracy and human rights. Nevertheless, Syria’s record on […]

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