Use cash

I use a credit/debit card online. But when I’m in a physical store, except in rare cases, I use cash. This is one of the reasons why:

Clothing store chain Eddie Bauer said today it has detected and removed malicious software from point-of-sale systems at all of its 350+ stores in North America, and that credit and debit cards used at those stores during the first six months of 2016 may have been compromised in the breach.

I work in security and POS systems are one of the things we watch and worry about a lot.

Use the known cure, not security theater

Via Bruce Schneier we have this extremely timely and fascinating article, The Evolving Challenges for Explosive Detection in the Aviation Sector and Beyond:

Another misnomer propagated largely in the press is that these type of explosives threats are not detectable with currently deployed technologies. This is false. The latest generation ETDs, when used in combination with the latest X-ray technologies, are generally excellent at detecting TNT, plasticized explosives such as C-4, PETN (Detasheet), and Semtex. This powerful combination of technologies should catch these explosives threats, even if it were concealed in the electronics of a laptop, because ETD swabs can detect minute amounts of residue.

Even an amateur chemist doesn’t have to think about this topic much to come up with explosives that are undetectable with the latest generation of explosive trace detection (ETD) equipment. As near as I can tell things I pointed out nearly nine years ago are still vulnerabilities.

The OIG also reported last summer that tests of the screening system showed that 95 percent of attempts to smuggle weapons through U.S. checkpoints were successful.

This has actually gotten worse since they started prohibiting weapons on board over 40 years ago. They should just give up on this and let passengers defend the cabin.

The reality of our current war on terrorism is that the costs are inversely correlated. Terrorists can use inexpensive but highly effective means to attack high-value and highly protected targets, forcing governments to take stricter and more costly measures to provide protection. Their model scales while ours becomes more difficult to sustain. Until we are successful in changing the paradigm in which cheap terrorism is effective terrorism, we need to be prepared to continue to invest in technologies and processes that make it more difficult for them to succeed.

Emphasis added. I agree with this. We must change the paradigm. We currently have nothing but security theater.

We are spending trillions of dollars and have nothing of substance to show for it. Those resources could, and should, have been spend in some serious elimination of terrorists rather than attempting to make it incrementally difficult for them at exponential costs to us. We have the resources and technology to make it exponentially expensive for them at incremental cost for us. We have a ruthless enemy who is willing to murder untold numbers of innocent people. We dealt with cultures like this in WWII and fundamentally changed their mindset to make the culture more tolerant to people who were different from them. These intolerant, evil, enemies are now tolerant, functional, members of a world society. It’s time to treat our current enemy with the known cure for evil.

Sympathy in this case is difficult

The French have been working hard for years to show the Muslims that they mean them no harm. THAT, we are told, is how you get along in peace with people of other cultures, and if other people hate you then there must be a good reason; you need to look at yourself and see what you can do to make them stop hating you.

The French have also adopted the idea of massive violations of the right of honest citizens to keep and bear arms. Criminals will have whatever they want, but the honest must be disarmed.

Predictably then, we get this quote after last night’s coordinated jihad attacks in and around Paris. This was from someone at a rock concert;

“We lied down on the floor not to get hurt. It was a huge panic. The terrorists shot at us for 10 to 15 minutes. It was a bloodbath.” (That’s from CNN if you want to look. I’m not linking to them)

If all you can do is lie down and hope, while people around you are being shot, for 10 to 15 minutes, then your tactics suck. Dozens of people died on that scene, like the helpless sheep they worked so hard to become.

They’ve brought this upon themselves, I’m very sorry to say, and it’s difficult to have much sympathy for them. We’ve tried for years to warn them.

The left in the U.S. sees all this and says to themselves; “We totally need more multiculturalism and more gun control.” That attitude, that insanity, is the enemy as much as any jihadist, for it is that attitude that has emboldened the jihadists. They must be laughing their asses off at our stupidity.

Bad guys and worse guys, bad news and good news

To laugh or cry. Hard call. A recent terrorist shooting Paris has some unlikely, er, heros? (it’s transplated, and a little hard to tell if it was the big ISIS shooting or another one at a nearby or related restaurant) It is being reported that when the terrorists entered and started shooting, there were people in the restaurant that rose and returned fire, killing “the two attackers.” So score two for the good guys? Well, ordinary civilians can’t easily carry for self-defense, there. Turns out the concealed-carry guys were Columbia narco-cartel traffickers.

Huh.

Oh, well. Red-on-red fire still counts as a win, yes?

Of course he would say something like that

It’s in his nature:

In the U.S., a person on a watch or “no-fly” list would not be flagged buying a train or bus ticket. Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, called for creating a “no-ride” list for Amtrak in 2011, a proposal the rail line said “could add value in creating an overall security posture.”

I think there should be more emphasis on the word posture. Schumer nature is to push us more and more toward a police state regardless of the effectiveness of his claims of trying to make people safer. He’s been doing this for decades with the most outlandish gun control proposals. I don’t expect he will stop until he no longer has an audience willing to listen to him.

Quote of the day—Steve Bucci

There are a lot of them that aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Steve Bucci
Security expert and former top Pentagon official
August 17, 2015
Price for TSA’s failed body scanners: $160 million
[Never forget that they even have TSA backward. A more accurate acronym is AST (A Security Theater).—Joe]

Security theater in the news

Via Bruce Schneier and Tyler Durden:

An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned.

The series of tests were conducted by Homeland Security Red Teams who pose as passengers, setting out to beat the system.

According to officials briefed on the results of a recent Homeland Security Inspector General’s report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.

In addition, the review determined that despite spending $540 million for checked baggage screening equipment and another $11 million for training since a previous review in 2009, the TSA failed to make any noticeable improvements in that time.

That money is a total waste. It’s nothing but security theater. Let the airlines handle their own security, or lack thereof, any way they want instead of the government continuing to infringe our rights and waste our money.

Interesting first day at work

I no longer work in downtown Seattle near Mugme Street. Today was my first day on the job on the Eastside of Lake Washington.

One of the most interesting things was that at various times during the day my boss would introduce me to someone. This included people as high as the “Senior Director” and maybe a V.P. Nearly everyone said something to the effect of, “You’re the guy that likes to blow stuff up!” The director and her husband are probably going to participate in signed up for Boomershoot this year.

Oh. Word got around ahead of me.

Just as interesting are the people I’m working with.

My boss was former military and law enforcement and during the interview a few weeks ago mentioned something about explosives. Taking a chance I said, “I have a license to make high explosives.” I presume this is how word got around ahead of me. Although Bruce (see also here) could have contributed to this some too, since he works at the same place. This sidetracked the interview quite a bit and he told stories about he and some of his cop buddies doing some things with explosives that were more “interesting” (but harmless) than one would normally admit too.

While showing me around today my boss also told me a first hand story of what Black Talon ammo (in 9mm) did to human targets. Because of the over penetration his police department went to Federal Hydra-Shok’s after that.

One of the guys I’ll be working closely with and whose desk is closest to mine is a former special forces guy. He and my boss were telling me stories from survival school when they were in the military.

I’m working on security stuff with some very interesting people. Security Theater is not tolerated in our environment. This should be fun.

Armed admins

Interesting news blurb today. Toppenish is a city/school district in central Washington state, about 20 miles south of Yakima. It’s a poor, gang- and crime-ridden part of the state, with lots of native Americans and Spanish speakers. It’s the sort of place that if I stop in to gas up, I’m likely the only white guy in the joint. They have decided to allow 11 administrators to exercise their 2nd Amendment (and article 24 of the WA St constitution) rights to carry arms at school. Be nice if they allowed teachers to be armed, but hey, baby steps, one at a time.

Be interesting to see how it all goes.

Law for thee, not for me

I’m sure we are all shocked when a gun-control activist is caught with a gun. Oh, the horror, how could it happen? But when he’s caught carrying in an elementary school? That’s just another day in Buffalo, NY. He committed what was a simple misdemeanor, that was turned into a felony by a law he helped pass. The SWAT was a total over-reaction, but I hope they make him rot in jail for a LOOOOONG time. Not because I think what he did was wrong, but because it’s a law he supported and help pass to punish people exercising an enumerated right.

Schadenfreude at it’s most ironic.

More guns = less crime, part 22

From Reason comes a report of a study about An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates. Their conclusion, unexpectedly of course, is that assault weapon bans don’t do squat, and limiting the legal ownership and carry of guns for self defense (or, presumably, other purposes) increases crime rates. I’m sure we are all shocked that enforcing and encouraging defensive passivity and defenselessness encourages criminals, but there you have it.

Second Amendment Foundation kicks additional butt

In the grand scheme of things it’s a small win, but we’ll take what we can get;

CITY OF SEATTLE SETTLES SAF PUBLIC RECORDS LAWSUIT FOR $38,000

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation has accepted a $38,000 settlement from the City of Seattle for the city’s failure to release public records about the city’s gun buyback in January.

As part of the agreement, the city has acknowledged that it did not promptly or properly provide all of the documents sought by SAF under the Public Records Act. SAF was represented by Bellevue attorney Miko Tempski.

“It is a shame that this had to drag out so long,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “but the important thing is that the city, and outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn’s office has been held accountable for sloppy handling of our request. One would have thought the city had learned something earlier this year when the police department had to pay the Seattle Times $20,000, for also not providing requested documents.

“Maybe the citizens of Seattle can consider this a Christmas gift from the departing mayor,” he remarked. “This would not have been necessary had McGinn’s office done its job.”

SAF had pursued e-mails and other documents related to the January buyback, which was conducted in a parking lot underneath I-5 in downtown Seattle. The operation was something of an embarrassment that even Washington Ceasefire President Ralph Fascitelli had advised against, the recovered e-mails revealed.

Earlier the city had supplied some of the requested documents, but a story in the Seattle P-I.com revealed there were other materials that had not been provided to SAF by Mayor McGinn’s office.

“It seems hard to conceive,” Tempski said, “how you could accidentally overlook hundreds of documents and how that could be unintentional.”

“The settlement,” said Gottlieb, “will help SAF continue its legal work. Hopefully, we will see better performance from a new city administration in January.”

Bureaucrats care very little when they’re playing with other people’s money, but eventually they get booted out of office for their douchebaggery.

What the Seattle government critters were trying to hide through their obfuscation of course is that gun “buy-backs” (as if they were ever their guns in the first place) are nothing but a cheap, stupid sham. They knew they’d be called on it, so they were willing to take their very slim chances in court at the citizens’ expense.

At a minimum, the settlement should come of out their salaries. That is after they’re arrested for using their position in an attempt to chill the exercise of a constitutional right.

How about a printer and ink “buy-back” as a means of “fighting” counterfeiting? Yeah; shockingly stupid. Insane, actually, if anyone were to think it could ever help anything.

If you trust people who do this sort of thing to hold positions of power there is something wrong with you.

Hey; let’s have a Koran “buy-back”, after which we’ll show videos on the evening news of those Korans being shredded for recycling. “Getting these Korans off the streets is another way to help save lives” the announcer would say, as a flock of doves is released. Surely that’ll put a big dent in the jihadist threat, right? Same reasoning. Same anti constitutional behavior. Same insanity.

They have it back asswards of course; crime (both the freelance and the official kind) is the reason we must at all times protect the right to keep and bear ams.

I gave quite a bit (for me) to the SAF this year. How about you?

Perhaps it’s Stockholm Syndrome

This is the equivalent of a rapist using a condom and lubricant:

…this is the future of airport security here in the nifty fifty, but the changes that are taking places in Charlotte and Dallas are certainly something that we can support. Think more comfortable spaces, better signage, and even places specifically intended to use for slipping your shoes back on.

The perpetrators should be prosecuted not encouraged. I suspect Stockholm Syndrome has something to do with it.

Fading fast

Looking at the headlines, it looks like the Navy Yard shooter is fading from the above the fold news with incredible speed, considering the number of bodies he left in his wake. I wonder (rhetorically) if it’s because it doesn’t fit the left’s narrative on guns and race? He’s black, obviously crazy, and used a PC weapon (a pump shotgun, perhaps purchased on “Sheriff” Joe Biden’s recommendation). So, they “see nothing to be learned,” and much egg of their face from the early blather reporting.

Quote of the day—Hognose

Nobody good, decent, moral or competent has ever been employed by TSA in any capacity whatsoever. The TSA is the primary citizen-facing face of the DHS, and it’s the face of a retard who wants to be a Nazi.

Hognose
Homeland Security ‘needs’ a $5 Billion Palace Complex
August 12, 2013
[The first sentence is probably a bit of an overstatement but the second sentence is a home run.

And don’t forget that TSA is just A Security Theater.—Joe]

Biometric fail

From here:

Cars of the future may use the driver’s rear end as identity protection, through a system developed at Japan’s Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology. A report surfaced earlier this month that researchers there developed a system that can recognize a person by the backside when the person takes a seat. The system performs a precise measurement of the person’s posterior, its contours and the way the person applies pressure on the seat. The developers say that in lab tests, the system was able to recognize people with 98 percent accuracy.

That’s not good enough. If you can’t drive your car one time out of 50 when the chances of your car being stolen are only once out of, say, ten years you are going to disable the feature.

Also 98% accuracy number was in lab tests. I have to wonder if those lab tests included people having different things in their pockets. If you normally drive with a wallet in your rear pocket and you hop in your car after a day at the beach with your wallet in a bag thrown into the back seat what are the odds then? Or if you change your carry gun, or move the holster a little to one side or the other. And it is going to have to adapt to weight gain and loss over time.

Biometrics have a lot of problems. It’s really tough to get the accuracy needed for everyday use because characteristics of people change. And the basic concept has two fundamental, closely related, security flaws.

One is that your biometric “key” is not well hidden. You leave a set of fingerprints on the glass at the restaurant, on door knobs, and on the keyboard at the library. And image of your iris can be captured with a telephoto lens while you walk down the sidewalk.

The other flaw is that in any secure system you must have a way of repudiating a set of credentials if they have been compromised. How do you repudiate an image of your iris or your fingerprints? At most you only have two eyes and ten fingerprints. And there are lots of gummy bears.

Biometric researchers attempt to block access to these flaws by performing “liveness” tests. The guys in the black hats are keeping up and my guess is, except for some very expensive solutions, they always will.