“If you are under the age of 40, you’ve never been safer than you are today”

But that is no way to make people afraid! America’s Safest Cities.

The ranking of the cities is a bit interesting, but the start of the article is what the media is trying desperately to ignore.

There were 369 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 Americans in 2018, nearly the lowest violent crime rate in the United States in more than three decades. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., John Roman, a senior fellow with NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent social research institution, explained that the latest crime statistics reflect an encouraging continuation of a long-term trend.

“If you are under the age of 40, you’ve never been safer than you are today,” Roman said.

Hat tip to 19th Ward Chicago, who has also reminded me that the final version of the FBI’s Crime in the US report for 2018 has been released. I will have to dive into it, since I haven’t done so in a number of years.

The list of safest cities can be found at this link; it starts with Boca Raton, Florida in 50th place.

Is Ransomware Getting Worse? Yes

The FBI sees the writing on the wall. Will anyone listen? FBI warns of major ransomware attacks as criminals go “big-game hunting.

Where certain attacks have behaved like opportunistic attacks – Baltimore is mentioned – that is changing as the bad guys get better, or worse. Better at being bad guys, anyway.

Data from CrowdStrike has shown a rise in what the firm refers to as “big-game hunting” over the past 18 months. These attacks focus on high-value data or assets within organizations that are especially sensitive to downtime—so the motivation to pay a ransom is consequently very high.

And the FBI, though they didn’t give much info, thought the situation warranted a warning. Not that anyone will listen. Actually preparing for such an attack costs money, and means we have to change the way I do things, in ways that I don’t like, and besides those damn IT folks are always wanting to spend money some crazy thing. And what can it cost, anyway?

What’s the Cost of Being Stupid About Security?

If you’re working in the area of national security, the cost can be high. Exclusive: Russia carried out a ‘stunning’ breach of FBI communications system, escalating the spy game on U.S. soil.

This is a long article. And some of the conclusions differ from other reports in the media. But the conclusion is clear. The average person in the FBI (or CIA) is clueless about technology, and security, and incapable of making decisions about either. And the people who should have known better were delusional, about the “reset option” that Barack Obama had Hilary Clinton undertake. (They were sure to love us, once Bush was out of office. Or something.)

“It caused a really big rift within the [National Security Council] on how seriously they took analysis from the agency,” said the former CIA official. Senior administration leaders “went along with” some of the more optimistic analysis on the future of U.S.-Russia relations “in the hopes that this would work out,” the official continued.

Those disagreements were part of a “reset hangover” that persisted, at least for some inside the administration, until the 2016 election meddling, according to a former senior national security official.

After the Obama Administration finally admitted to itself that Russia was still an adversary…

American officials discovered that the Russians had dramatically improved their ability to decrypt certain types of secure communications and had successfully tracked devices used by elite FBI surveillance teams. Officials also feared that the Russians may have devised other ways to monitor U.S. intelligence communications, including hacking into computers not connected to the internet.

As a result of all of this, we expelled a batch of Russians and seized two estates Russia owned.

The article is long, but if you are interested in the world of signals intelligence, you will find it interesting. (The NBC article – second link at the top – is much shorter.)

And it isn’t a new problem, that the FBI sucks when it comes to security.

We do know, from research Matt Blaze and others did almost ten years ago, that at least one FBI radio system was horribly insecure in practice — but not in a way that breaks the encryption. Its poor design just encourages users to turn off the encryption. [From Schneier on Security, who get’s the hat tip]

Because I don’t need security, or something and it’s inconvenient. And besides, I don’t understand it so the Russians can’t either, right?

Oh, and also consider…

It’s unclear whether the Russians were able to recover encrypted data or just perform traffic analysis. The Yahoo story implies the former; the NBC News story says otherwise. It’s hard to tell if the reporters truly understand the difference.

The FBI isn’t the only group ignorant of security.

French Police and Avast Dismantle Botnet

This kind of thing needs to happen more often. (They had some help from the FBI.) Avast and French police take over malware botnet and disinfect 850,000 computers.

This is about Retadup, a Monero-mining cryptojacking system.

Antivirus maker Avast and the French National Gendarmerie announced today that they’ve taken down the backend infrastructure of the Retadup malware gang.

Furthermore, as a result of gaining access to this infrastructure, Avast and French authorities used the criminal gang’s command and control (C&C) servers to instruct the Retadup malware to delete itself from infected computers, effectively disinfecting over 850,000 Windows systems without users having to do anything.

Most of the infrastructure was in France, hence the Gendarmerie, but some of it was in the US, hence the FBI.

The FBI – OR – Political Policing Is Never Good

They would like you to believe that it is a few political appointees, but some of the folks at the FBI doing bad things were in that organization for 20 years and more. The FBI Tragedy: Elites above the Law.

There are list of the people involved the Russian Collusion invention. Here’s an example.

Nonetheless, many of those caught up in the controversies over the Russian-collusion hoax were not recent career appointees. Rather, many came up through the ranks of the FBI. And that raises the question, for example, of where exactly Peter Strzok (22 years in the FBI) learned that he had a right to interfere in a U.S. election to damage a candidate that he opposed.

From conflicts of interest to the “insurance policy” against a candidate not liked by people in the FBI…

In sum, why did so many top FBI officials, some with long experience in the FBI, exhibit such bad judgment and display such unethical behavior, characterized by arrogance, a sense of entitlement, and a belief that they were above both the law and the Constitution itself? Were they really just rogue agents, lawyers, and administrators, or are they emblematic of an FBI culture sorely gone wrong?

Hat tip to Wirecutter.

Larry Nassar and the FBI’s Failure to Investigate

Apparently it wasn’t politically advantageous to investigate crimes against people who had no power. Comey’s FBI Ignored Sexual Abuse Victims To Play Politics.

The Nassar case was a shameful display of failure at every level. It‘s earning newfound attention due to a documentary now available on HBO—”At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal.” The documentary tells the girls’ shocking story. (It airs again Tuesday. Warning: It’s not easy to watch.) While coaches, parents, USA Gymnastics executives and Michigan State University officials turned a blind eye to Nassar’s deviancy, hundreds of the world’s most talented female athletes were physically tormented for years as the doctor traveled with them across the country and around the world.

Complaints (plural) were made to the FBI, as the crimes covered several states and he even traveled internationally with the gymnastics team. Nothing was done.

Then, 17 months after two female Olympic athletes notified James Comey’s FBI about allegations of sexual assault—and 10 months after James Comey’s FBI opened up an official case on the matter—the feds arrested Nassar at his Michigan home in December 2016.

Perhaps if Nassar had been a quirky political consultant working for a candidate Comey didn’t like, Comey’s FBI would have acted faster.

Political law enforcement, and the FBI is nothing if not political, is not a good idea.

A Reasoned Examination of Recent FBI Conduct

JusticeWritten by a former Federal Prosecutor. In a world where accusations of bias are screamed, it is nice to see someone lay out the facts calmly. The Politicization of the FBI – Imprimis

Over the past year, facts have emerged that suggest there was a plot by high-ranking FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in the Obama administration, acting under color of law, to exonerate Hillary Clinton of federal crimes and then, if she lost the election, to frame Donald Trump and his campaign for colluding with Russia to steal the presidency. This conduct was not based on mere bias, as has been widely claimed, but rather on deeply felt animus toward Trump and his agenda.

It is worth the time. [Hat tip to The Road Kill Diaries.]

What Do You Do With Lying Bastards in the FBI?

What do you do when you don’t want to actually do your job? You lie to your bosses so they can sue Apple. San Bernardino Terrorist Case: The Lies of the FBI

The FBI sued Apple for a “cryptographic backdoor,” because actually breaking in is hard. They swore their was no way to break in. Except of course their was. So they lied to their bosses, and the courts.

Will the clowns in the Cryptologic and Electronic Analysis Unit who lied to both their bosses and to the courts be disciplined for that?

Don’t hold yer breath.

I used to call them The Federal Bureau of Idiots, but this isn’t just idiotic. Putting the “Criminal” in Criminal Justice system since at least the 1960s.

“The Federal Bureau of Incompetence.”

So an FBI agent (unnamed) left his vehicle running while he pumped gas. What could go wrong? Second City Cop: Four More Guns on West Side

About 12:10 a.m., a 32-year-old man left his vehicle “momentarily unattended with the engine running” in the 300 block of South Morgan, according to Chicago Police

Seriously? I have to guess he was a suburbanite who had never been in the big city. Any big city. (I guess he thought he was in Mayberry, or perhaps he thought the FBI aura prevented crimes.)

thanks to a dumb-ass FBI agent, the offender now has a Chevy Equinox, a M4, a Glock 17, a Glock 22, a Glock 27, 2 vests, full tank of gas…

That last is from 2nd City Cop. He knows more about the FBI than I do, and the papers aren’t mentioning the guns. Wouldn’t want to scare the citizens, or make it a question when they call for more gun control. (The title of the post is borrowed from one of the comments.)

(Update: They have recovered the vehicle and some of the equipment, but still no mention of the guns. Second City Cop: No Word on the Guns)