Tag Archive: India

Turkish Hacker-Crackers, perhaps?

A Cracking Week Off?

I had a week’s holiday of sorts last week.  On returning I found that this website had been cracked. (I already had intimations that something was wrong because of site stat failures and an email from @Justin Asking, sometime commenter to this website and others).  Anyway, so it was.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have good web access so was unable to correct things properly.

The main screen, viewable on zone-h here, was replaced by this,

Site Hack Aug 2011

Site Hack Aug 2011

A neat little JavaScript mouse trailer was part of the package!

The cause was my own – a wide-open directory made so as part of an image upload plugin for my WordPress installation.  This plugin makes it easy and neat for any commenter to add material to the website……unfortunately for me, it allowed any file, with active content or not, to be uploaded.

Needless to say, the plugin is now disabled and the directory is locked down to the specific  file types that I’ll accept.  No more active content allowed there matey!

Unwanted Extras

Once the nasty files were uploaded, the internal site privileges allowed the install of a swathe of .htm files to the site root and uploads folder.  These had various names like f.htm, g.htm etc.  Index.htm was the file on show.

Alongside these, apart from files needed to run the previously mentioned JavaScript, were another swathe of .phtml files, such as joker.phtml, which are actually php code shining as html.  A couple of plain text files had also been uploaded.  These had lists of files, sites and persons.

All .htaccess files were okay as well as the WordPress installation files.  To be sure, I redid the WordPress install from scratch with fresh downloaded files..

Finale

All told, about fifty files were dumped on my website.  I’ve hopefully removed the lot and have them downloaded for analysis at a later date.  The screen content and internal code all points to Turkish or S.E. Asian (Vietnam or Indonesia) Muslim crackers (I refuse to use the hacker term except to clarify the cracking of security by it’s now-common usage).  Saying this, the culprits (the code points to several authors who used freely downloadable files from cracking websites and then proudly expected a pat on the back for their extreme skill at doing a download…like….der….), the culprits could have come from anywhere.

Fifth columnists and agent-provocateurs are nothing new.

Interestingly, being cracked puts me in the same company as at least 186 well-known multinational businesses, such as Acer, Vodaphone, BetFair, The Daily Telegraph, The Register, Spam.Org, Victoria Beckham and Destiny’s Child.

Even System of a Down dot com, was down!

Zone-h’s full list is here.  The Register reports it here, The Guardian here.

The Guardian interview with the crackers notes that the culprits had been planning the attack for some time which obviously includes the time when my site was compromised.  I don’t know if my website was actually used as part of the above DNS server attack but it’s usual for an attack like a DDOS to use several vectors and simultaneous attack points in order to force a server to fail and dump code.  This dump then reveals passwords and the like for later use.

Addendum

WordPress.Org’s forum has a posting about this crack from last week.  A Google search in the comment by RedNeckTexan shows the attack on this website to be far from unique….!   The links I’ve followed go right to the heart of the crack and the people doing the cracking.

This is the Google Search on the “Easy Comment Uploader” plugin.  Like me, RedNeckTexan has pulled the plugin for now, which can be found in the WordPress repository here.

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Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made: Mercenary Guidelines for a Better World

Guidelines for a Better World

Sausages

Sausages

Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made.  Perhaps I should re-phrase this as:

The Rules of Law and International Diplomacy are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made

It’s a strange world out there.  Two recent political events have brought two previously unlinked ideas to my mind.  The events are:

Wikileaks disclosures
Innocents Killed In Iraq

Innocents Killed In Iraq by US gunship

For the Wikileaks disclosures, I see them as a highly embarrassing thing for those involved, but an empowering thing for us mere mortals who are divorced from the diplomatic process.  Normally, all the guts of the process are hidden.

In the case of the cover-up of the turkey shoot of unarmed civilians by US helicopter crews, it is something of which we should all be aware, no matter how discomforting for us.

In truth, we need better leaders in the West, people of real morals and guts so that we do not have to see the guts of innocents sprayed on the streets ever again to realise how crap the current bunch are.

Mercenary Forces

Mercenary forces I see as a fact of current and historical life, the old colonial powers especially – indeed, the UK has its own dirty hand in this.  For nigh-on 200 years the UK has even had its own full-time mercenaries, the Gurkhas, typically used in near-suicidal conflict situations.  Also, currently, from the standpoint of an Afghan tribesman, the British Army in Afghanistan could be seen as little more than mercenaries in the employ of a puppet king, Hamid Karzai.  For the tribesman, little has changed – there’s money about but he sees none of it whosoever is in charge.

Diplomacy

Click to see Sausage Making process from the inside.

Sausage Making

In the meantime, we have diplomacy.  For the West, this is a world of essentially astute well educated  folk, usually adept in law not technology, that seek to make deals with not-so-nice folk for our own country’s benefit.

 

Because these deals are done at the guttural level, like sausage-making, it’s an unpleasant process to stumble upon – which is exactly what we’ve seen with the Wikileaks Diplomatic Cable exposures.  Naturally we are aghast that such things go on in our name.  For me, it seems to be a wholly unpleasant process in our current world and something I’d wish to eliminate.

Earth in an oil drop

Taking the current crisis in Libya;  for the previous three years the Blair/Brown Labour Government has made overtures with Libya, sold arms and even SAS training, but all with the aim of ensuring Libya kept it’s hands off the nuclear button.  Seems good-ish.  Laudable aims, jaw-jaw nor war-war and all that.

This process, now revealed, is ugly – but no more so than our current Prime Minister Cameron sucking up to some Gulf Arabs who, like Libya, run a similar kind of oligarchic, autocratic, nepotistic state, full of outlandish greed and luxury with no voice for the inhabitants!  Seems pretty bad.  ………   It is bad.  Really bad.  It’s the same process as before, and we only do it because we need their oil.   Forget about Grand Prix cars and World Cup Football – it’s all about the O. I. L.  – OIL.

So What to Do?

Use Oil?  Sell Bullets.

Most of the recent interventions of the West’s (let’s call them wars should we – after all, thousands have died?), have been into countries that maintain a nice, steady flow of oil to us rich, lazy, westerners.  We think nothing of flying the globe or motoring to the shop for a cheap item that has most probably already crossed the globe once on its way from China, so yes, it’s important we can do this, right?…

On the other hand, our presence in places like Sudan, Rwanda or Congo has been notable by our absence.  Millions have brutally died.  (a.k.a. we don’t care as you’ve no oil.)

Meanwhile our presence in places like Nigeria or Bhopal, India has been notable for our poisoning of the local inhabitants without a trace of remorse or compensation by those involved.

Not Use Oil?  Don’t Sell Bullets.

  • Self-sufficient city planned near Seoul

    A Planned Self Sufficient Korean City

    Consider our own little part of the world.  It’s a place that many people in the world aspire to live because we are essentially free and most material things in our lives can be satisfied.

  • Consider how bright and technologically advanced we consider ourselves to be.

Now consider a world where we eliminated our dependency on chicken dictatorships – a world where we used our technological prowess to eliminate the consumption of oil and our addiction to the making and selling of arms, mostly to these self-same oil rich oligarchies. It’d be a world where we, the citizenry,  didn’t have to look on aghast as all our tax money was spent on bribing simple crooks to talk to us nicely.

Surely, like Egypt & Tunisia, those sort of oligarchies would collapse if we stopped buying their oil and stopped selling them our finest weaponry?

And if they didn’t, so what? There’d be no need for us as a nation to be thrown into hypocritical situations and taking ghastly actions for which we’d later be thoroughly ashamed.  Those areas of the world could take their own destinies into their own hands.

Green Shoot Of Peace

Green Shoot Of Peace

And Diplomacy? For us, we should see more not less of the words and processes done in our name.  We are not children and sooner or later, if the diplomats have fucked it up, we’re going to find out anyway, much as we did after WW1, WW2 and anywhere else our sons and brothers get killed in someone else’s war.

  • We need a proper, ethical, foreign policy.
  • We need diplomats of guile and courage, just like now,  to promote it.
  • And really, we really, really, need to be self-sufficient for all our needs and not rely on corrupt tin-pot states that have not left the Middle Ages in outlook.  This single thing is the most important thing for us and the peaceful futures of our immediate descendants.
  • We need a bit of courage to do this – to wean ourselves off this drug-like dependency on crooks of no substance who happen to sit on stuff we just happen to need, now.  Lets use our technological nous and make the current now a thing of the past – like stone axes and bronze swords, historical curiosities.
  • Mercenaries have courage – after all, if caught they’re usually the first one’s strung up.  See Dead Mercenary Taken to Tripoli Morgue, Libia Protests 2011.   But if the mercenaries have a proper home – what then?  There’d just be the few psychos like there’s always been, because you know, most people, even young hotheads, don’t want to wind up in an early grave.

Remember;

Courage is Contagious.

Get the t-shirt!

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The Real Troubles are not in Northern Ireland

Bloody Sunday

YOU ARE NOW ENTERING FREE DERRY 8The Saville Report, probably the longest and certainly the most expensive enquiry in the UK ever, is now out.  The ramifications are continuing, despite the Prime Minister trying to draw a line under everything.  See Bloody Sunday report published

History

On that day in 1972, 13 folks were killed, and overall, in what are called “The Troubles”, over 3,500 people were killed in Northern Ireland in the 30 years between 1968 and 1998.  (see ref.)  This is about 130 a year, or about 11 a month. ( Also, during the 30 years, >47,000 were injured!)

Bloody Philadelphia

But let’s stick with the dead for now.

I’ve been following the local 6ABC News in Philadelphia for a bit.  It’s not happy reading.  Most of the news headlines are murder related.

For Instance

Last year there was a ‘random’ shooting at a funeral.  Afterwards, Taaqi Brown was caught and charged with killing Aaron Kearney, although apparently he was after one of Kearney’s friends, ( – so that makes it alright, then?)

These are black guys, and drugs and guns come into the story a lot.  See storyline links below:

Disturbing Philadelphia

Recently, Taaqi had been let out of custody accidentally, which is pretty bad for the law enforcement agencies.  He later turned himself in.  What is horrifically disturbing though, is the interactive map from the Philadelphia Police Department.

http://citymaps.phila.gov/CrimeMap/map….from=5%2f17%2f2010&to=6%2f16%2f2010

Click on it and you’ll see all the homicides in the city for the past one month.  This is only one month, not a year or a decade….

27 people killed!

Most of these are from gunshot.  Mostly, people have been murdered outside in the street.  These are the cold statistics.

Crime Category Location Date/Time Premise Code
114 – Homicide: Knife 6100 BLOCK COTTAGE ST 6/13/2010 8:58 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 500 BLOCK E ASHMEAD ST 6/13/2010 0:23 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 6900 BLOCK N 19TH ST 6/12/2010 2:36 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun S COLORADO ST & WOLF ST 6/10/2010 6:04 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun N HOWARD ST & W HUNTINGDON ST 6/9/2010 17:11 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun CHEW AV & E WOODLAWN ST 6/6/2010 6:50 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
123 – Homicide: Non-Traffic 1100 BLOCK S 6TH ST 6/5/2010 0:52 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 400 BLOCK E SHARPNACK ST 6/4/2010 5:14 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
112 – Homicide: Rifle 1200 BLOCK S 21ST ST 6/3/2010 8:18 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 1600 BLOCK W YORK ST 6/3/2010 3:07 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
115 – Homicide: Beating 1200 BLOCK N 4TH ST 6/2/2010 14:54 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
114 – Homicide: Knife 2600 BLOCK COLLINS ST 6/2/2010 12:49 70. Private Residence
111 – Homicide: Handgun 3000 BLOCK W DAKOTA ST 6/1/2010 8:56 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun S 60TH ST & KINGSESSING 5/31/2010 6:56 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 2100 BLOCK E CLEARFIELD 5/31/2010 4:14 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
121 – Homicide: Auto W LEHIGH AV & MASCHER ST 5/30/2010 6:56 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 400 BLOCK W INDIANA AV 5/30/2010 2:37 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 4800 BLOCK DEVEREAUX AV 5/29/2010 3:56 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 5400 BLOCK BALTIMORE AV 5/29/2010 2:11 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 3300 BLOCK W WESTMORELAND ST 5/28/2010 4:21 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
123 – Homicide: Non-Traffic 1200 BLOCK RHAWN ST 5/26/2010 13:43 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 1200 BLOCK S BUCKNELL ST 5/25/2010 3:30 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
117 – Homicide: felon by Police Officer 1500 BLOCK W TIOGA ST 5/22/2010 4:01 66. Apartment House/Condominium
117 – Homicide: felon by Police Officer 1500 BLOCK W TIOGA ST 5/21/2010 23:21 66. Apartment House/Condominium
111 – Homicide: Handgun 900 BLOCK FILBERT ST 5/21/2010 7:29 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
123 – Homicide: Non-Traffic N 2ND ST & W OLNEY AV 5/18/2010 20:32 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun N 59TH ST & LANSDOWNE AV 5/17/2010 6:20 53. Highway (Outside Structure)

But remember, Northern Ireland, for the whole of The Troubles, averaged out at 11 murders per month…..  This is just one month in Philadelphia!

Murderous, Troubled, Philadelphia

It means ol’ Philly is 3 times as bad as Northern Ireland.

  • What can they do?
  • Has it always been like this?
  • Do they want it to change?

Q. So which makes the best holiday destination?  N. Ireland or Philadelphia?

Q. Are they very similar?

Well, both Philadelphia and N.I. have similar populations of between 1.5 and 2 million souls.   But there, I’m afraid the similarity ends.

My own internal image I have of Northern Ireland is of it’s troubled times, but in all likelihood I could walk the streets yet not feel very “brotherly” towards the place because I’d be haunted by it’s past.  But I’d most likely be “safe”.

My image of Philadelphia is of the home of Benjamin Franklin and the Liberty Bell.  It means “The City of Brotherly Love” from it’s Greek meaning. I also have a vision of a  ‘tough’ place because of Will Smith’s signature tune from the Fresh Price of Bel Air.

But my new image is that it’s not somewhere that’s safe to walk the streets, or even drive.  27 murders a month is nearly one a day.

Northern Ireland was never, ever, as bad as Philadelphia now.

War On ??

The continuing “War on Terror” looks to be a misguided distraction from these figures.  The true war should be being fought on the streets of cities like Philadelphia and in the minds of it’s inhabitants.

Because, you see, what happens is that if these same “poor kids” involved in a society like this, decide that the only way out of their mess of a life, is to join the Army in it’s war on terror, then their poor grasp of right and wrong leads to the continuing atrocities that we see in Iraq, Afghanistan etc.  Things like the gunship turkey shoot below where American heroes heroically shoot unarmed civilians on the ground from afar… (We only know of this because of the great Wikileaks.  As usual, the government tried to cover it up.)

This action and the continuing slaughter on America’s own streets by Americans is inexcusable.

  • Why is America like this?
  • Why do they put up with such shit?

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Awful BBC, Xenophobic Road Accident Reporting

Students die in India as bus plunges into river

Indian police officers look down from a bridge at the wreckage of a bus after an accident in Sawai Madhopur district, nearly 185 kilometres west of Jaipur, India, Monday, March 15, 2010. (AP / Rajasthan Patrika)

Indian police officers look down from a bridge at the wreckage of a bus after an accident in Sawai Madhopur district, nearly 185 kilometres west of Jaipur, India, Monday, March 15, 2010. (AP / Rajasthan Patrika)

The above headline is awful enough for the people involved, but in reality, it’s subject, a road crash, is common enough in my own country, the UK.

What is really bad is how the BBC is reporting this.  They should know better but essentially, they’ve reported verbatim the same “superiority complex” story being bandied about the globe in a “mass denigration” of India, (see here and here for instance), originally sourced from AP and which includes the objectionable phrase,

Road accidents claim hundreds of Indian lives every year. Most are blamed on bad driving or poor roads and vehicles.

There are two things wrong with this:

ONE:  The statistics are incorrect and they imply that somehow India is much worse than anywhere else.

TWO: The causes of accidents are reported as if they are specific to India, e.g. bad driving, vehicles, roads.  This is obviously wrong – my personal experience and the accounts of countless others tell me so….

Statistics

People are killed on the roads in far greater numbers than “hundreds” as the BBC and everyone else is saying.  Not only that, India’s figures are in the thousands, not hundreds, the same as every other country on the planet!…

You see,  ~4,000 are killed in the UK and ten times that, ~40,000 are killed in the USA!    Every year.

In the USA it’s so bad now that the main cause of death for people aged from 5 to 27 is on the road! (source)

Bad Driving? Bad Writing? Bad Editing?

So is it okay to compare bald figures?  What are they?

Of course, the statistics for India are hard to come by.  But this website for 1998 gives road deaths figures for India, North America and Europe as:

  • India:               217k
  • N. America:     49k
  • Europe:             66k

From Wikipedia, these are the (2008) figures for population of the three areas:

  • India:               1,150M
  • N. America:     528M
  • Europe:             830M

So from these figures, road traffic deaths per 100,000 persons are:

  • India:               18.8
  • N. America:     9.3
  • Europe:             8.0

So India is about twice as bad as the two major OECD areas in the world, for road deaths as a percentage of population size….  Not that we can all sit easy in our Western smugness….  there are still 10 people dying every day in the UK, on the road.

(I know the above calculations are back-of-fag-packet stuff and the data doesn’t line up correctly, date-wise.  As I said, Indian data is hard to come by. This document makes plain that the OECD median is 7.8 for 2007, which is close to my calculations, and my calculation uses figures from the same year for each geographical zone down a given metric.)

USA Paradox?

But what about the distance travelled?  Surely Americans drive more and thus crash more compared to their fellow Europeans which will lower their rates?

This document again makes plain that the above supposition is false!  When allowance is made for distance travelled, the USA fares only slightly worse than the UK for deaths per 100 million vehicle kilometres; 0.8 compared to 0.6

But this “slightly worse”, in percentage terms, is about the same as the whole variation across all OECD countries, N. America and Europe as seen above.  This means, that Americans DO drive farther, but they still crash at their same higher rate compared to Europeans.

Conclusion

Wolseley StreetWhere does this leave India?  As I said, the data is hard to come by.  But that’s not the point, is it?

The point is that the reporting of this bridge crash is being done in a mocking, superior way, and we have nothing at all to be smug about in the arena of road deaths.

NOTHING.

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Ashcroft: Assurance or Promise most Likely?

“Lord” Ashcroft Then

It’s ten years since Ashcroft “gave assurances” that he would reveal his er.. something or other, to William Hague – according to William Hague in his famous Paxman interview – See Below:

“Lord” Ashcroft Now

Today’s news is that if the tories win the forthcoming election, (and in a statement today, he finally confirmed he WAS a non-dom),  Ashcroft has promised to become fully “resident and domiciled” in the UK.  Try The Sun for more or the BBC.

“Lord” Ashcroft Conclusion

What this all means, of course, is that either;

  • Ashcroft lied to Hague back in 2000 when Hague put him up for his peerage,
  • Or that Ashcroft deliberately misled Hague about it all,
  • Or that Hague colluded in the deception.

I cannot personally think of any other routes that would lead William Hague to state what he so emphatically said to Paxman last summer.  What says you?  I’m all ears.

However, it’s blindingly obvious (yet strangely ignored) that he hasn’t paid tax to our nation for at least ten years – and yet has a weird magnetic control over some of our affairs….

Labour Donors

Lewis HamiltonOf course, the Labour Party have their own share of grey donors; all the way from Bernie Ecclestone back in 1997 to the Indian born Baron Paul with his own peculiar mix of richness, dodgy expense claims and donations.

The Labour queue is pretty long in financial scandal.

The stench of hypocrisy is becoming worse.

But what burnt the honesty cake for me these last two days, was the flag of patriotism being bandied about.

Patriotism – the last refuge of a scoundrel.

The DoorIn 1775 Samuel Johnson made this famous statement (reference here).  Yesterday, Tory leader Cameron said,

“It is an election we have a patriotic duty to win because this country is in a complete and utter mess, and we have to sort it out.”

  • Which is a formidable statement to make given that the whole world is in a turmoil where the rich get richer and the poor have to pay for it, and yet Britain is not a “one-off” and actually, is “not that bad”, you know…
  • Formidable because the starving poor are now castigated for hunting for food after earthquakes by a corrupt, politically charged and motivated media who employ brainless hacks to tow the editorial line.
  • Yet in the UK, no-one starves unless through neglect.
  • Anyone in Britain can get medical treatment and care on demand, with waiting lists at a fraction that they were when the Tories were last in power…

It’s a strange definition of the word “mess” – but a typical usage of the word “patriotism”, by a squeakily clean, disturbingly smooth, scoundrel.

Want and Need

Taxation without RepresentationWhat we want and need is simple.

In a reworking of the slogan “No taxation without representation“, there should be a new slogan, that empathetically states that we do not need lobbying or interference in our governmental process from any person or organisation that does not  pay taxes;  i.e. it does not directly contribute to the material well-being of the country.

No Representation without Taxation!

This means:

  • No positions of power.
  • No quango membership
  • No parliamentary membership.
  • No political donations, directly or indirectly.
  • No lobbying or ‘briefings’, directly or indirectly.

In other words,

Pay up , or shut up!

We all have to, the poor, long-suffering, tax-paying, public.

America

This is especially important for us, as where America leads, we follow.

Within the last two months, a legal judgement was made that made it perfectly proper for any business to promote any political party.  The logic was that if a company pays taxes, it should have representation, just as the founding fathers wanted.

The crucial irony is though, that grievous complaints have been raised in the USA that their due process of democracy was already being undermined by these huge corporations that now bankroll the electoral system.

Of course, the reason that the corporations won was due to the massive financial investment in lobbying that they undertook to ensure they won…….

Watch out Britain!  Q. E. D.

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