Monday, July 6, 2015

Hackers hacked: Malware firm's data leaked, ties with regimes exposed

Hackers hacked: Malware firm's data leaked, ties with regimes exposed

Published time: July 06, 2015 09:25

An Italian company that sells hacking tools to various governments was apparently itself the target of a hacker attack, resulting in its internal documents being leaked online and its deals with countries such as Sudan and Saudi Arabia exposed.

The Milan-based Hacking Team develops spyware and malware tools that can target computers and mobile devices across various platforms. The company maintained that it legally sold its products to be used for law enforcement.

Over the weekend it was apparently targeted by a cyber-attack that resulted in 400 gigabytes of its internal documents and source code leaked online. The identity of those who leaked the sensitive information or the way they obtained it remains unknown. However, the attackers gained control of Hacking Team's corporate Twitter account to report the breach and share a link to a Torrent file with the stolen data.

The hack has shone a spotlight on the widespread demand for such services from governments around the world.

Among Hacking Team’s clients in invoices and other documents, dozens of countries are mentioned, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, the United States, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Australia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxemburg, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Hacking Team Sudan Invoice after they denied selling to Sudan.

The documents appear to confirm earlier accusations by critics that Hacking Team was dealing with various governments, many of which have questionable human rights records.

The firm's ties with Sudan are of special embarrassment, since previously Hacking Team publicly denied selling its tools to Sudan. The firm required that the Sudanese government paid them €480,000 ($530,000) by wire transfer for "remote control" systems used to access a target's personal data.

The leak deals a blow to the reputation of the controversial company. Reporters Without Borders has listed Hacking Team on its Enemies of the Internet index.

Yanis Varoufakis: Minister No More!

Minister No More!
Posted on July 6, 2015 by Yanis Varoufakis

The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.

Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.

I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.

And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.

We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.

The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.

Wall Street's Next Bonanza: Subprime Marriage-Backed Securities

Wall Street's Next Bonanza: Subprime Marriage-Backed Securities

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/05/2015 16:30 -0400

Submitted by Daniel Drew via,

The last crash was caused by reckless investments in subprime mortgage-backed securities, an ingenious way to repackage and redistribute staggering amounts of credit risk to unsuspecting investors. After losing their house and their money, some investors may take comfort in their enduring marital relationships. Unfortunately, marriage is one of the riskiest bets of all, which makes it a prime, or should I say "subprime" target for Wall Street's masters of innovation.

After watching oil titan Harold Hamm pay his ex-wife $1 billion, I couldn't help but wonder where he went wrong in the relationship department. Then again, he's not exactly a shining example of risk management; he lost $10 billion in the oil price collapse, or the equivalent of 10 ex-wives. Most Americans can't afford to pay their spouse $1 billion or even $15,000, which is the average cost of a contested divorce. Where there's risk, Wall Street is not far away.

One of the remarkable features of modern society is the seemingly endless amount of ways to repackage risk and distribute it to those who have a demand for it. The wacky world of the insurance industry seems to know no bounds. From vanilla products like car insurance to the ultra-weird like Troy Polamalu's $1 million hair insurance, you never really know what you're going to see next. While there are certainly notable individual examples of insurance oddities, nothing has the potential to create widespread effects like marriage insurance.

Provided by Safeguard Guaranty, marriage insurance is sold in units for $15.99 per month, which covers $1,250 in potential divorce costs. That's $192 per year for one "unit," which gives the insurance company a break-even point of 6.5 years, not including overhead. They even have a divorce probability calculator that is based on over 20,000 interviews. Supposedly, it has an accuracy rate of 87%. They don't elaborate on their formula, but you can get an idea of their inputs by answering some of the questions.

If marriage insurance sales take off, it's only a matter of time before Wall Street repackages it and sells it to investors via subprime marriage-backed securities. A boom in marriage speculation would ensue. Did you see your neighbor with his mistress last night? Buy some MBS credit default swaps on him and tell his wife what you saw. Is your other neighbor away from home a lot? Buy some MBS insurance on his wife, seduce her, and when they get divorced, you can cash in. Consider it "inside her" trading. Does it sound preposterous? It's not any crazier than buying credit default swaps on poor people's mortgages and making $15 billion when they become homeless. Remember, everything is fair in the "free market."

The "Nightmare Of The Euro-Architects" Is Coming True: JPM Now Sees Grexit, Eurogroup "Split In Coming Days

The "Nightmare Of The Euro-Architects" Is Coming True: JPM Now Sees Grexit, Eurogroup "Split In Coming Days"

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/05/2015 16:46 -0400

Perhaps the best summary - or epitaph, some would say - of the shocking events that took place in Greece this afternoon, and the resultant falling dominoes that are about to be unleashed, was given by Slovakia's finance minister Peter Kazimir, who summarized events as follows:

He followed it up with a Dylan Thomas quote:

We assume the next lines goes as follows:

"Rage, rage against the dying of the "irreversible" currency"
And while we laid out what Deutsche Bank's 4 possible scenarios are in the case of the now confirmed "No" vote, here is JPM's Malcom Barr with the bank's latest take on Greece which is that at this point, a Grexit is JPM's "base case"... and it only
goes downhill from there.

After the "big no", euro exit is our base case 
  • After the “big no” it is now a race between two forces: political pressure for a deal, versus the impact of banking dysfunction within Greece 
  • Although the situation is fluid, at this point Greek exit from the euro appears more likely than not

Early indications of the official result suggest the result is a “No” by a comfortable margin. What happens next?

First, it will be important to see the tone of the immediate political responses both within Greece and outside. We would expect the tone to be somewhat more conciliatory on both sides. Hollande and Merkel are to meet tomorrow night to discuss the issue, and as we understand it, the Eurogroup is scheduled to meet on Tuesday. We expect that a split is likely to emerge in the coming days. The Commission and France (and possibly others) will argue that negotiations should resume immediately with an aim of finding agreement. Others will find it more difficult to return to negotiations with a newly emboldened Tsipras in short order.

In the German case, for example, the Bundestag has to be consulted before Mr Schauble can enter into discussions about a new program for Greece (as requested on 30th June). However, the Bundestag has just broken for summer recess, so any such vote will require a recall. We have seen reports that talks at a technical level between Greece and the creditors may restart tomorrow (Monday), but we can imagine that the Bundestag will express its displeasure if it feels those discussions are in-progress without their express consent.

Second, there are reports of an emergency meeting between the ECB, Bank of Greece and Finance Ministry tonight, and at the latest the ECB will likely have to take a decision about ELA support tomorrow (if not tonight). Our base case is that the ELA total will simply be rolled on a day-to-day basis for now. It is extremely difficult for the ECB to justify increasing the region's exposure to Greece at this point. That effectively means that the Greek banks are likely to run increasingly short of cash, and the acceptability of electronic forms of payments will diminish rapidly.

The Bank of Greece and Finance Ministry has a joint committee working to prioritize payments out of Greece for essential imports. There are reports, however, that suggest the logistical problems arising from these procedures are biting. Importers are facing delays in seeing their requests to make purchases processed. And Greek exporters are finding it hard to get payment in euros from those they sell to, as their customers do not want to hold any euro balances within the Greek banking system. It is difficult to get a sense of the scale of these issues at this point. But our best guess is that these issues will multiply in the days ahead.

This suggests that what we see next will be a race between two forces: political pressure to move toward an agreement despite resistance from a number of northern European parliaments, versus the increasingly unpleasant implications of a dysfunctional banking system on the other. This latter force is unpredictable: it may manifest itself in pressure on the government to stand down, or it may generate a more unified “siege mentality” within Greece. The July 20th payment of €3.5bn to the ECB as Greek bonds mature creates one possibly fixed point as we look forward, but our sense is that could be dealt with via a number of mechanisms if political talks are progressing (transfer of SMP profits, short-term ESM loan, for example).

Our base case is that the pressures coming from a dysfunctional banking system in Greece will shorten the time horizon to negotiate a deal to a handful of weeks. As that pressure builds, there is likely to be a temptation to call a referendum in Greece on euro membership, and for the state to begin issuing I-O-Us or similar and giving these some status as legal tender. To the extent that pensioners and public sector employees find themselves being paid with such instruments, it takes the banks further away from solvency (they have liabilities in euros, but will have loans to individuals being paid or receiving “i-o-u” s which will be worth a lot less). Meanwhile, we expect at least some countries in the rest of the region (not least Germany) will not hurry over the design of a new program, and will find it difficult to get parliamentary assent for any such program.

This is a path that suggests to us that there is now a high likelihood of Greek exit from the euro, and possibly under chaotic circumstances. Perhaps the rest of the region will agree to a reasonably quick deal, or the ECB will raise ELA enough to retain minimal viability in the payments system. Perhaps the pressures of dysfunctional banks will force Mr Tsipras to stand down, and a deal is subsequently made. But for now, we would view a Greek exit from the euro as more likely than not.
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