Friday, December 30, 2016

Still No Proof Or Compelling Evidence Of Russian Involvement In DNC Leaks

On Dec 29, 2016 the FBI and DHS released a Joint Analysis Report (JAR-16-20296) in which federal investigators claim that "technical indicators" link the Russian government to hacks of "a U.S. political party". For unexplained reasons the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta are not mentioned by name but it's clear that this report is intended as a reaction to Wikileaks' publishing emails that appear to be theirs.

The technical details in the report are limited and include a short list of tools and infrastructure that were allegedly used to “compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. Government, political, and private sector entities.”

The technical indicators are provided in Structured Threat Information Expression (STIX) and Coma Separated (CSV) format and could be used to search for attack patterns, malware, exploits and to defend networks or systems against cyber threats.  Unfortunately this report has been released too late to be of much use to security experts who potentially review thousands of port scans every minute.

The "technical indicators" include tools and techniques such as Powershell Backdoor and HAVEX which are commonly known to an average white hat hacker. The list of IP addresses and fully-qualified domain names are not very useful to identify the perpetrators of these cyber attacks because the compromised systems have probably been repaired or taken offline by now.

UPDATE on Jan 4, 2017 Micah Lee from The Intercept determined that since 367 of the 876 IP addresses in the Grizzly Steppe report "are actually just Tor exit nodes, this means that anyone in the world — not just Russian hackers — can use the internet from those IP addresses."

A "Fact Sheet" published by the White House says that the Joint Analysis Report "includes information on computers around the world that Russian intelligence services have co-opted without the knowledge of their owners in order to conduct their malicious activity in a way that makes it difficult to trace back to Russia." So even the Obama administration plainly admits that this is not proof of Russia's involvement.

During a presidential debate, Hillary Clinton claimed, "We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election." However, there is still no proof or compelling evidence provided to justify why these intelligence agencies believe that Russia was involved in the hacking of Democratic Party emails.

Furthermore,  the U.S. has a long history of influencing elections in other countries and their tactics frequently include cyber espionage and dissemination of propaganda. So the hypocrisy and double standard applied to Russia's alleged action is quite perplexing.

This Joint Analysis Report is too little too late and those responsible for its content should be ashamed of its tardiness and limited usefulness. Congress must investigate the gross negligence in handling this public disclosure. We the people of these Unites States deserve better explanation of the reasons behind our government's sanctions against Russia and the labeling of their diplomats as "persona non grata."

The Obama administration's actions are tantamount to a declaration of war on Russia. We deserve proof or at least compelling evidence of Russia's involvement in the DNC leaks. We also deserve a select committee investigation into the alleged authors of the leaked emails to determine if indeed the DNC rigged the Democratic Party primaries against Bernie Sanders and laundered money from the Democratic Party into the Clinton campaign instead of the down-ballot candidates who should have received funds.

UPDATE: On Jan 6, 2017 the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a new report that states, "We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion."

Police seek Amazon Echo data in murder case

The Internet of Things (IoT) requires some risk to security and privacy in exchange for convenience.

Source: Engadget

An Amazon spokesperson gave Engadget the following statement on the matter:

"Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course."

Echo only captures audio and streams it to the cloud when the device hears the wake word "Alexa."

Those clips, or "utterances" as the company calls them, are stored in the cloud until a customer deletes them either individually or all at once.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Understanding Antennas For The Non-Technical Ham

I haven't had time to review this book, but wanted to add it to my reading list.

Source: Hamuniverse

Understanding Antennas For The Non-Technical Ham
A Book By Jim Abercrombie, N4JA (SK)

Illustrations by Frank Wamsley, K4EFW
Edited by Judy Haynes, KC4NOR
Copyright July 2005. Second Edition

Edited for the web , N4UJW
Editors Note: This is a book length web article provided by the author FREE for all hams.
This is copyrighted material and is the property of Hamuniverse.com and/or the article author and is to be used only for personal non-profit educational use.
You may download a pdf copy of it here....74 pages!

It is HUGE!
Bookmark this page for future reading or see more options for saving at bottom of page!
The original book contained 60 pages and illustrations.
They are all here!
Many of the antennas described here are in project form on this web site.

Here are some of the main topics in the book that you will learn more about.

Antenna systems, antennas, simple antenna formulas, basic antenna theory, feed-lines, matching units, how antennas work, polarization of electromagnetic waves, frequency, the ionosphere and modes of propagation, Ground-Wave Propagation, Direct Wave or Line of Sight Propagation, Propagation by Refraction,

Skywave Propagation, Greyline Propagation, Long Path Propagation, ham bands propagation, antenna myths, standing wave ratio, real antenna systems, Flat Top Dipole, Inverted-V Dipole, Dipole Shape Variations, Calculating the Length of a Half-Wave Resonant Dipole, The Decibel, Resistances and Reactance, Feeding Dipoles Efficiently,

Cause of Feed-Line Radiation, Baluns, Other types of dipoles, Shortened Loaded Dipole,

All Band Dipoles, Sloping Dipole, Folded Dipole, Double Bazooka Dipole, Broad-Banded Coax-Fed Fan Dipole, Two-Element Collinear Dipole, Four-Element Collinear Dipole, Coax-Fed Dipoles Operated on Odd Harmonic Frequencies, Three Half-wave Dipole, All Band Random Length Dipole, All Band Center-Fed Random Length Dipole,

A Two-Band Fan Dipole, Trapped Dipole for 75 and 40 Meters, The Extended Double Zepp Dipole, The G5RV Dipole, Off-Center Fed Dipoles, One wavelength Off-Center Fed Dipole, Carolina Windom, Windom Dipole (Fritzel Type), End-Fed Antennas, End-Fed Zepp, Alternate Method of Feeding an End-Fed Zepp, End-Fed Random Length Antenna, The Half-Sloper antenna, Vertical antennas, Ground Mounted Trapped Verticals, Disadvantages of Using Quarter-Wave Verticals, Long and Short Verticals,

Unscientific Observations of Verticals, The Inverted-L Vertical , Vertical Mobile Antennas, HF mobile antenna comparisons, One wave-length single loop antennas, Horizontally Oriented Loop, Vertically Oriented Single Loop for 40 and 80 Meters,

Single-Element Vertical Delta Loop, Directional beam antennas, Monoband Yagi, Three-Element Yagi, Trapped Multi-band Yagis, SteppIR Antenna, The Log-Periodic Array,

Directional Cubical Quad and Delta Loop Antennas, Single Band Cubical Quad, field-strength meter, The Quagi, Gain vs front to back radio, Feed lines, Antenna Safety,

Erecting Antennas on Masts, Tower Safety, Quarter Wave Matching Sections of 70-ohm Coax chart, and much more!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

VOA Radiogram, DigiDX and Mighty KBC

Thanks to Bill Adams AF4B for sharing this with me. This appears to be a fairly consistent schedule from week to week and I added local times in US/CDT for my own reference.

Source: VOAradiogram.net

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 160, 23-24 April 2016, all in MFSK32 except where noted:

1:34  Program preview
2:44  Can AC and DC power integrate?*
12:13  Radio Farda TV signal jammed in Iran*
16:38  New report finds media freedom declined globally*
26:53  Closing announcements*
28:17  Olivia 64-2000: Frequency schedule under music

* with image

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com. 

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz  0430-0500 CDT
Sat 1600-1630 17580 kHz  1100-1130 CDT
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz  2130-2200 CDT
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz  0230-0300 CDT
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK32 Sunday at about 0220 UTC (Saturday 2120 CDT) on 6040 kHz, via Germany. This is part of KBC’s North America broadcast at 0000-0300 UTC (1900-2200 CDT). Reception reports to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .

DigiDX will transmit DX news in MFSK32 and perhaps other modes: 

Sunday 2130 UTC - 15770kHz via WRMI Florida  1630 CDT
Sunday 2330 UTC - 11580kHz via WRMI Florida  1830 CDT
Monday 2000 UTC - 6070kHz via Channel 292 Germany  1500 CDT

Consult https://www.facebook.com/digidx/ for any additions or changes to this schedule.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

HALO Antenna Homebrew

Source: KR1ST

Build instructions for a 2 Meter HALO antenna for omnidirectional ssb and digital modes horizontally polarized.

Source: KP4MD

Another set of 2 Meter HALO build instructions.

Source: N6TWW

Formulas for calculation of element length is wavelength divided by two (half wavelength) at about 98% efficiency of light speed.

The speed of light is approximately 186000 miles per second in free space.

5280 feet per mile

186000 miles X 5280 feet = 982080000 feet traveled in one second by the target frequency

144.250MHz is a center frequency for SSB on 2M

982080000/144250000 = 6.8 feet

6.8 feet X 12 inches = 81.6 inches).

81.6 inches is how long one wave length is at 144.250MHz.

propagation velocity through the element is maybe 98% the speed of light.

81.6" X .98 = 79.97"

The loop is 1/2 wave length

80"/ 2 to arrive at 40" length of the element.

2 Meter: 982080000/144250000*12/2*.98 = 40.0320998267 inches

These same formulas can be extrapolated for other bands such as:

6 Meter 50.02 MHz: 982080000/50020000*12/2*.98
115.446429428 inches = 9.62053578569 feet = 2.932 meters

1.25 Meter 222.125 MHz: 982080000/222125000*12/2*.98 25.9972105796 inches

70cm 432.05 MHz:982080000/432050000*12/2*.98 = 13.3656530494 inches

Source: KR1ST

With the addition of a phasing harness it is possible to stack HALOs for greater gain.

PROTOTYPE:

This photo is a prototype of an adjustable HALO for multiple bands. I am hoping that this can be resonant and 1:1 SWR in the calling frequencies for most digital modes.

I plan to carry this plus a small SDR and maybe transverters in my carry-on bag with clothes for 7 days. It must perform well for weak signals on the 2M, 1.25M and 70cm bands. 

I think that 6M and HF bands could also be possible with sections of copper pipe less than 19" and/or loading coils. It will be interesting to see how tunable it can be by screwing in more or less sections and components. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Save Crypto

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Magical Thinking on Golden Keys

One of the biggest proponents of a “balanced” solution to the so-called Going Dark problem is FBI Director James Comey. At hearings in July and again this month, Comey has claimed that because some companies offer non-end-to-end encrypted communications tools, that’s proof that there is a way to achieve both user security and law enforcement access. He’s been backed up by the Washington Post editorial board and state and local law enforcement officials who all call on geniuses in Silicon Valley to “figure out” the balance.

The problem is that they don’t seem to have listened to the geniuses.

In fact, pushing back on the other side of this debate is a unified coalition of technologists, mega technology companies, and privacy advocates with a remarkably consistent message: weakening encryption is a terrible idea.

...

Apple CEO Tim Cook has vociferously opposed any new backdoor mandates, echoing cryptography experts with the statement "you can’t have a back door that’s only for the good guys."

...

Google, which has made full-disk encryption mandatory for smartphones running Android Marshmallow, joined Apple as well as over 140 other organizations and individuals (including EFF) in a joint letter delivered to President Obama in late May urging the administration to reject any proposal weakening the security of their products.