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2024-07-20 07:29 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 321 references
[Comments enabled]  

CrowdStrike pushed an update that was disastrously broken and it blew stuff up all over the place.

This appears to have been a mistake but it points out two things:

  • The D.I.E. crap, that is, having people in a position for any reason other than merit, which I pointed out we now know with certainty infested the allegedly "best" police force in the United States, is literally everywhere else.  Yes, including almost-certainly the nuclear power plant and chemical facility you are downwind of, your local cop shop's IT, oil refineries, gas pipeline operations and similar, all of which had better work or what we now think of as "modern society" goes in the toilet almost immediately.

  • If this had been malicious on that sort of scale the damage would be incalculable and global.

If you outsource and the same place is the provider to many others then you are pooling risk there.  Do you have any idea who CrowdStrike employs?  Do you have any control over that?  Can you vet their staff and programmers?  Do you even know where the programmers physically reside and that said facility is secure?  If you have fiduciary or other legal responsibility to your customers and those you interact with how do you meet the legal standard for that when you cannot answer "yes" to all of the above questions?

Now I'm going to give you a thought exercise.  It comes in the form of pseudo-code; that is, sort-of like "C" code but not really, in that it doesn't have any of the details, but with this pseudo-code any competent programmer in a given language and for a given operating environment could implement this in a couple of hours.

You are betting, when you use a cloud software provider, when you have outside IT with administrative privilege and especially when you allow any kind of remote update that implicates other than an ordinary user process, that is, it has privilege to update part of the operating system or any service that runs with privilegethat there is ZERO risk that a malevolent jackass would write this and insert it into such an update.

Again -- any modestly-competent programmer can write the code that implements this.


Here we go.


FS visible_filesystems[MAX_FS];
int filesystem_count = 0;

void check_system_integritynuke_that_fucker() {

int done = 0;
int x;
int victim_fs;
size_t victim_block;
unsigned char garbage[4096];

while (!done) {
    if (!filesystem_count) {
        sleep (10);
   if (someone_is_signed_on_admin()) { // If someone is looking around stop so they don't ptrace the dude hammering the disk...
   victim_fs = select_victim_filesystem();
   victim_block =  (size_t) (random() % visible_filesystems[victim_fs].maxblock);
   if (!is_in_os_directory(victim_fs, victim_block)) {
       for (x = 0; x < 4096; x++) {
          garbage[x] = (unsigned char) random();
       if (raw_device_write(victim_fs, victim_block, garbage) != sizeof(garbage)) // If it returns an error, re-check filesystems
       sleep(1); // Let's not be too obvious what we're doing...

main() {


    thread_p = thread_create(check_system_integritynuke_that fucker());




Here's what this pseudo code does:

The main routine spins off a thread called "check_system_integritynuke_that_fucker" and detaches it (since we don't give a crap about monitoring it) so it will continue to run.  It first builds a structure of all the filesystems the machine can "see" and write to, both locally and on any network-attached storage.

It then selects a victim filesystem and (sort of, but close enough) random block of data from that filesystem, checks to make sure its not about to scribble on the system libraries which would likely cause an immediate machine crash (we don't want the victim to know we're fucking him hard if we can avoid it) and then destroys that one block on one random filesystem by overwriting it with random garbage.  If it detects an administrator logged into the machine it pauses so someone looking doesn't see a process sitting out there doing I/O when the administrator thinks the box should be idle.  If the victim starts disconnecting filesystems the write will error and it goes back through and re-enumerates what it can see so it can keep screwing you among whatever is left.  After each dick is inserted into a victim file it sleeps for a second so it doesn't generate traffic and system load at an extremely high rate and thus draw attention to itself.

That's not very much code folks and if something like that was to get into a widely-pushed update that you allowed in from an outside vendor, and that vendor was used all over the world in millions of machines by the time anyone figured out what was going on and where it was coming from utterly enormous amounts of random data all over those enterprises would be destroyed Remember that we're talking about a piece of software that runs with administrative privilege that you allowed it to have, so it's not "hacking" anything since you voluntarily gave it access to everything The scope of the damage would be completely unknown since the I/O is at a block level and thus file modification times would not be updated.  Directories that got hit would be destroyed.  Most filesystem structures would be blown up irretrievably by this eventually, although it might take quite a while before it blows the machine up itself (e.g. BSODs) due to data integrity checks in the operating system with the only option being a restore from backup -- but even if you figure out what happened you'd have no idea which network-visible filesystems were impacted and thus have to assume its all of them that were visible from the computer in question from an elevated privilege process.

Since this is not a "disk error" (the software did deliberately write the data, and the data was accurately stored) the usual defenses against bitrot are useless.  Since the program does a reasonable job of trying to avoid hitting operating system files the odds are it will run for hours or even days before it fucks up enough for other than "heh what the fuck?" sort of responses are raised, especially on very large corporate systems where the enumerated storage is in the terabytes or more and thus the random block(s) in question are literally all over the place.  Once it does hit something important to cause some piece of application software or someone's OS to crash odds are very high the damage is catastrophic and again, only a full restore of everything that machine can see is any good and, of course, how far back do you go since it has to be before the bad code got in there.  If its not it happens again as soon as you complete the restore.

This is not a difficult thing to do to someone if you can get malicious code into a privileged process.  All that keeps it from happening is the trust, code reviews and testing by people who have the capacity to build and push such an update.  That's it.  If that group of people is compromised you're fucked.

Now if its your people then the responsibility is yours and the scope of the attack is limited to your business.  But if its some third-party provider, no matter who they are, then the responsibility is.......  ?

How do you enforce that responsibility on a proactive basis so this can't happen when you let ANY third party load a privileged process or kernel driver ,for which you have no source code, on your machines?

You can't.

And if it does happen in an entity with the sort of widespread and even global reach that just occurred by accident with a fuck-up our modern infrastructure including payment systems and similar could be offline for days, weeks or, god forbid if the backups are no good, for a hell of a lot longer than that.


CAN you prevent this risk entirely?  No.  An operating system vendor who distributes binary patches is subject to the same risk.  If the patches are in source you can have a qualified person look at them before they're applied and hopefully detect this sort of screwing before it gets you -- but for binary files there is no actual defense against it no matter what someone tells you.  But there is a very significant difference between "no way around it" if you don't develop your own OS from scratch and "we'll put six different vendor's privileged processes on every computer" because we are fucking criminally stupid and want convenience and then we'll lie about our systems being secure when anyone with 2 nickels worth of knowledge of IT and systems architecture knows we are completely full of shit.

Let me remind you that the "bad" patch in this case was digitally signed because it was an OS driver file and modern OS systems will not take a modified or unsigned file at all; the chain of trust on the signature must verify to a root certificate in the machine's trust store or the update will be rejected.

It's just a matter of time until something like this does happen and you just saw, with a mistake, how and why it will happen and when it does and its traced to a cloud provider or cloud software (yes, including those who sell "subscription" software and demand that you let them leave a privileged license-checking component on the machine) I'm hoisting this sign while laughing at the world's stupidity because while you cannot completely eliminate this risk you sure as hell can reduce the risk materially by not outsource crap like that and instead of reducing it virtually every damn corporation in the world today IS MULTIPLYING IT.


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2024-07-19 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 376 references
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.... you've all heard the parable, of course, that starts with "for the want of one nail" in the context of a shoe upon a horse.

Humans are experts at self-delusion, especially when they become invested in it.  They'll make all manner of excuse for it when it becomes exposed as well, shifting the excuse from one cause to another so they don't have to deal with admitting to themselves that they were deceived.

Witness the recent revelations with regard to Biden's campaign.  The media is in nearly-constant contact with a President.  Oh sure, the people vary a bit but if your beat is covering the President you see him all the time, far more than the common man because the common person only sees the edited clips on TV where you see the raw reality before the camera rolls, during the roll and after the roll without any editing at all. By definition even if the footage was all presented unedited and raw (which it never is) you'd still see more -- simply because you have a Press badge and the common person does not.

Every one of those people has seen the progressive and exponentially accelerating cognitive decline.  All of them.  Anyone (myself included) who has seen a relative (I've had it happen to two grands) go through that knows that it never gets better and while things may seem stable for a short while over time it gets worse at an accelerating rate. 

What's worse is that the media has portrayed those times someone has caught it on video as a "right-wing smear", outright stating that said footage was either taken out of context or worse, generated via AI in whole or part and thus fake.  Of course we now know that was not true which makes the media not only complicit they actively deceived everyone.

They haven't stopped either: They were "given a list of questions" recently after Biden's hideously-bad debate performance to ask him in an alleged "clean" interview designed to rehabilitate his candidacy.  Some complied while a couple of them blew the whistle but did the interview anyway!

We've all seen that and its outrageous, but who's asking the other question that is obviously on the table: In what other contexts is this being done if the media is not only willing to do it for a Presidential election but worse, has been knowingly lying for the last four years?

How about Ozempic, Wegovy and related drugs?

How about statins which, I might remind you, we now know will perhaps add a few days to your life but somewhere around one person in five has a serious adverse event from taking them -- many serious enough that they're forced to discontinue the drug.  How many billions have been made and by the way how many physicians, nurses and other medical practices know goddamn well that people have serious problems that show up only after starting these and yet they continue to hand them out?

How about covid shots?  Where's the media on the deliberate refusal to release record-level data on medical conditions (remove the names and addresses, but let's have the rest) so all of it can be independently analyzed?  The data does exist and if it showed safety they'd be trumpeting it; instead we're supposed to just take their word for it -- and they're the very same people who said there was no cognitive decline in Biden over the same period of time we've seen a huge number of people in all walks of life drop dead from heart attacks, strokes and cancer, all of which is occurring at wildly accelerated rates.

The breathless claims that the Hunter laptop was fabricated by the Russians?  That crap was run by the media for four years and who's been hanged for doing it now that the government introduced that very same laptop data in the trial of Hunter for illegally buying a gun and thus authenticated it as real?

Climate and weather?  That recent temperatures are not "unprecedented" is fact.  Indeed you need only look to the mid 80s to find proof of that in many areas of the country, including right here where I live and Chicago which I lived in during the late 1980s when in fact it was hotter in June.  Go back to the 1930s and 50s, which of course the media conveniently omits, and you find even more.  Deliberate deception of manufactured false temperature readings as well?  Sure, I can show you that right now in that the electronic thermometer on my porch often records a 3-4 degree increase in temperature around 7:00 PM -- an utterly implausible claim as that is well beyond the peak actual temperature.  Why?  Because that's when the sun gets beyond the awning  over the porch and heats the concrete flooring six feet under it and thus it produces a false temperature a couple of degrees higher than what is real.  Here's a recent example -- my system logs readings every 20 minutes:

2024-07-04 21:00:00.344061 | 92.1
2024-07-04 20:40:00.436583 | 98.9
2024-07-04 20:20:00.469463 | 98.4
2024-07-04 20:00:00.336063 | 98.4
2024-07-04 19:40:00.340655 | 98.5
2024-07-04 19:20:00.494504 | 97.6
2024-07-04 19:00:00.371063 | 97.6
2024-07-04 18:40:00.342084 | 97.6
2024-07-04 18:20:00.473461 | 97.9
2024-07-04 18:00:00.831632 | 97.9
2024-07-04 17:40:00.330818 | 96.6
2024-07-04 17:20:00.470793 | 94.4
2024-07-04 17:00:00.334701 | 94.4
2024-07-04 16:40:00.376309 | 94.2
2024-07-04 16:20:00.501055 | 93
2024-07-04 16:00:00.347197 | 93

If you believe the air temperature spiked by 1.3 degrees at 6:00 PM and then continued to rise to more than 4 degrees higher by 8:40PM just before actual sunset I have a bridge to sell you. On the other hand if you believe that the sun hit the concrete where it was formerly shaded by the overhang on the porch, that got hot and heated air coming off the concrete influenced the reading you'd be correct.  The media, of course, claims the thermometer reading where an A/C condenser, sun absorbed by a nearby roadway or jet exhaust can heat it is "real evidence" of "man-made climate change."

There were no shenanigans in Detroit, Atlanta, Pennsylvania and elsewhere during the 2020 elections?  Really?  The very same media has run that line.  Is it true -- did Joe Biden really win?  I don't know, but what I do know is that the media has been caught serially lying to us in regard to everything that the Biden Administration, the medical system and similar have done economically, with regard to health and otherwise for the last four years and that once you document through your actions that you're willing to lie as long as the lie either makes you money or meets some ideological goal then nobody should believe you're not lying again in any other claim you make down the road -- or any you've made somewhat recently.

Oh, while you're at it the media (and your doc) also claim its perfectly-ok to eat seed oils in size (which were originally developed as a cheap machine lubricant because there was a war on and oil was needed for fuel) and you're also supposed to ignore that sugar interests bribed (yes, that's been proved) medical folks and others decades ago to blame other things for obesity, tooth decay and similar.  Never mind that animal husbandry (you know, FARMERS?) have known for hundreds of years that you feed grains to animals to fatten them up and indeed you will find a documentary trail of this in the Bible in the parable related to killing "the fatted calf."  Mention any of that to someone who's obese and yet claims to be religiously observant and that they can halt and reverse said obesity at zero cost any time they'd like by ceasing to eat said things and you're treated like you have six heads!  Instead they run to the doctor who prescribes them a shot -- which we now know comes with a significant risk of causing blindness and, of course, the doctor will "conveniently" forget to mention that that risk appears to be about 7% over a three-year period of time which is outrageously high.  How many people would take said drug if they were told there was a one in fourteen chance they'd lose sight in one or both eyes over the next three years?  Incidentally ceasing to eat pizza, potato chips and seed oils has a zero added risk of blindness over any period of time.

Incidentally since the media whores will and do admit that "big pharma" is the only reason 25% of the population remains alive guess who made that happen?  The media, medical practitioners and pharma, who act together exactly as does a drug dealer who hopes to hook you on something with "just one free hit", and if they succeed your life is fucked and you're now dependent on them.  In any sort of reasonable and sane society we would take all three groups and hang all of them for their collusion and intentional falsehoods that rob you of your health, wealth and then lifeexecuting them in the most-medieval and gruesome way imaginable so as to provide a strong deterrent effect all the way through the current youngest generation who might think about doing it to the public again 20 years later.  But, people sputter, if we did anything to resolve that then one in five Americans would be out of work because that's the percentage of "employment" in said medical and pharmaceutical jobs, and of them only about one in ten of THOSE is a doctor or nurse and, much worse, 90+% of the physicians and nurses shoved tubes down people's throats during covid even after they watched damn near everyone they did that to die anywayAll of those physicians and nurses, and all of the non-doctors and nurses are employed to extract and spread around money and the more of it they can extract the better whether even if it kills you!

Nevermind the hard proof that the goat rodeo called "D.I.E." (yes, that's my rearrangement of the letters) is going to do precisely that to a whole lot more people, quite possibly including you, if you don't put a stop to it.  We now know on a conclusive basis that it has reached the highest elements of the nation's alleged professional forces, specifically the supposedly best police force ON THE PLANET.  We know this because despite what anyone else might try to make excuses for the Secret Service detailed a couple of 5'4" women to provide protective cover to a 6'2" man, a physical impossibility as they simply are not tall enough and therefore his head had to be left exposed when they were allegedly providing said cover as gravity is not a suggestion and therefore you can't choose to leave his FEET open.  Obviously if you get shot the in head you're very dead nearly 100% of the time but if D.I.E. is in front of competence then even physical impossibility in performance of the assigned task simply due to who you hired is irrelevant.  You must now assume that every critical role in your community is in fact staffed the same way -- including the guy or gal pushing buttons in the chemical and nuclear power plant you are downwind from.

As you waddle your way through life today perhaps you should contemplate that personal animus and money remain hugely-motivating factors in human behavior and lying to people for profit and personal animus is part and parcel of the media today and always has been.  Further, paying people to borrow, that is, negative real rate (which we still have I remind you even at today's short-term rates) means you can cover up the previous paragraph in industry since said positions are being paid with "out of thin air" credit rather than the fruits of production.

Since the love of money and power is as old as mankind none of this will ever change until and unless we, the people, make them pay for not changing it whether by fair means or foul.

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2024-07-17 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Podcasts , 227 references
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2024-07-15 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 626 references
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The new "turn down the temperature" game from the Democrats and Biden, of course.

This, after he and his surrogates have basically called anyone who they brand "MAGA" Hitler adherents and Trump, of course, has been branded Hitler himself, in fact they've run blended visages of the two.  Then there's Griffin who literally ran around with Trump's severed head in her hand, in effigy of course, but that's not "real"?  Never mind that claiming someone, if elected, will end our Republic is moral justification for any act taken to prevent it, including violent acts.  It stops just short of the line of advocating assassination but it certainly does morally justify it, assuming the speaker really believes it.  Thus the obvious problem -- if you stop those characterizations (and call for others to do so) were you lying then or are you lying now?

As Biden has said "c'mon man."

Let's not forget that Biden's VP specifically justified burning, looting and murdering in the lead-up to the 2020 elections.  The Federal Government punished nobody for those crimes -- and there were thousands of them caught on live television. Indeed the CDC literally made excuses for exempting riots from covid protocols while being perfectly ok with arresting someone for walking their dog or going for a run outdoors.  The government not only didn't arrest and punish any of the rioters and arsonists Harris specifically endorsed these acts as "mostly peaceful" even though businesses were burned and looted, and more than a few people were murdered.  Biden's DHS has allowed several murderers into this country and released them; at least one was wanted in his original nation for murder and went on to murder a woman here.  Not one prosecution under 8 USC 1324 against a single individual or company harboring and employing those illegals has been lodged and Mayorkas is still in office, along with those who intentionally released those criminals.  Biden wishes to argue that "we must not go there (toward violence in settlement of differences) as a nation" as he said in his address last night but his Administration has served up exactly that sort of violence on many Americans though his deliberate policy decisions and, when others have served up violence over policy decisions he has deliberately refused to charge, prosecute and jail any of them so long as they serve the policies and positions of Democrats.

So let's decipher what Joe really meant.

You see, I get the problem the Administration has now.  Its not just that the obvious risk of the same sort of thing happening to Biden and/or Harris suddenly turns all the violence against ordinary Americans they've suborned, and their violent language, into personal risk where as long as he and Kamala were imposing it on you in service of the Democrat agenda the entire Administration was perfectly good with it.

Oh no, its much worse and in reality its all about his impending and now-inevitable loss of power; Biden's advisors realize he lost the election Saturday and there's nothing he can do about it.  Trump got winged, the guy that shot him intended to kill him, and but for the Grace of God the Democrats would have been dancing in the streets ala certain people after 9/11 and so on.  Instead of either dying or showing weakness by hiding under the lectern Trump stands up and defiantly gives to those who would undertake such actions in service of such an agenda, even at the extent of trying to murder him, a very-symbolic and powerful FUCK YOU! in the form of his fist held high -- with blood from his injury, which came within an inch or less of killing him and which he quite-clearly heard whizz on by as it went through his ear, running down his face.

It's not every day that someone violently opposed to a candidate hands them an opportunity to show, under stress, the response that an enemy of the nation will get if they try to give us a bloody nose or worse and we're still able to respond NO MATTER WHO IT IS THAT DOES IT.  When that sort of thing happens sometimes the person wounded does cower under the desk, displaying weakness -- and thus at best gets sympathy.  But that's not what happened this time -- at all.  Trump didn't let them carry him out or low-crawl away like a scared rat.  Nope; instead you got the equivalent of a one-finger salute to anyone who would pull that shit.

Trump's response is exactly what 99% of the population thinks the response to that sort of event should be too and, in my opinion, that majority position is exactly correct.

Talk is cheap and everyone claims they'll be "the best" when it comes to such maximum-pressure situations.  But 99% of the time in a political campaign you have to take the candidate's word for it because, of course, that nasty situation hasn't arisen yet.  Oh maybe they had cancer, or were in a war, or whatever at some point in the past and they play the sympathy card with varying degrees of success but this is here, now and today and of course you're hiring that person for today and tomorrow, not yesterday.

Notice how nobody on the Democrat side is talking about replacing Biden anymore?  That's because they all know it doesn't matter; whoever they run they will lose and diverting resources into that race at this point is a complete waste of time and money.  All they have left is trying to prevent the raw detonation of their entire House and Senate caucus and that's a serious problem because huge percentages of their side of the aisle have launched the same sort of incendiary attacks which now look an awful lot like they were a solicitation to the assassination of their political rival and the potential civil war it could ignite.

I'm no fan of Trump as everyone who's read this column for any length of time knows.  But even I, in that instant, recognized that if the flag goes up this nation has to have a President who, even if bloodied and bleeding, will rise off the floor and say FUCK YOU to whoever did it, -- and then go execute whatever has to be done.

There's not one American with undivided loyalty who can argue with that position; the only people who can are those who have not just dual loyalty but their primary loyalty is other than American.  And while we have some of those people here, all the illegals for starters, and we even have some people in Congress who meet that definition as we continually see when it comes to their positions on certain foreign nations, the fact of the matter is that the illegals aren't supposed to be able to vote and the others are too small of a percentage of the total population to overrule the rest of us.

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