Tue Oct 29th, 2019 at 12:06:11 PM EST
Came across this article today ...
Tiversa dominated an emerging online market
--before it was accused of fraud, extortion, and
manipulating the federal government.
A Cybersecurity Firm's Sharp Rise and Stunning Collapse | The New Yorker - Nov. 4, 2019 |
Boback is a storyteller. Words pour out of him in cascades that, depending on the listener, can register as beguiling, slick, questionable, or bullshit. One colleague described him as "very confident, sometimes bordering on cocky." Another told me, "He was a master manipulator. Watching him was like watching van Gogh use oils."
As Boback began marketing his system, he landed a big meeting with lawyers representing the Recording Industry Association of America, but the lawyers said they already had a strategy to combat file sharing: sue the problem into oblivion. Undeterred, he and Hopkins flew to Los Angeles, where they met with Darcy Antonellis, the head of anti-piracy efforts at Warner Bros.
Continued below the fold ...
After the meeting, Boback's lawyer mentioned that a partner in his firm knew Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who had spoken out against pirated music and movies. Perhaps, if Hatch gave his imprimatur to the system, the concern about its legality could be overcome.
That May, Boback and Hopkins drove to Washington with another lawyer in the firm, to meet with Hatch in a conference room in the Hart Senate Office Building. They brought a laptop and made their pitch, as Hatch listened with polite interest. While wrapping up, they explained that their system could track not only music and movies (the vast bulk of the content on peer-to-peer networks) but anything else that people were sharing: documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint decks.
Some of those items appeared to have national-security implications, so Hopkins had created a second user interface for the software, called Patriot Spy. Boback shared a few examples of what the system had found, including files belonging to a person in Australia who had jihadi literature and bomb-making manuals.
... By the end of the call, Tenet had invited them to visit the C.I.A.'s headquarters, in Langley, Virginia, first thing the next morning.
Inside, the head of the Directorate of Science and Technology was joined by an official representing In-Q-Tel, a corporation that the C.I.A. had set up to fund new technologies. (The "Q" refers to the technician in James Bond films.) A follow-up call from one of the participants led to more trips to D.C., and suddenly Boback and Hopkins were journeying through the shadow world of the post-9/11 national-security establishment.
There were visits with the F.B.I. and the military. They returned to Langley, to meet with another enthusiastic official, who introduced himself only as Bad Bob. The agency also instructed them to go to a Starbucks in Reston, Virginia, from which a C.I.A. officer would convey them to a secret facility.
On the drive back to the Starbucks, Boback asked what prevented the C.I.A. from simply stealing their technology. The officer told them, "If you weren't an American citizen, I would have already stolen it--and, oh, you have a connection to Senator Hatch." The offhand comment sent a jolt of paranoia through Boback and Hopkins, who began to refer to their laptop as "the football"--the White House term for the briefcase that allows the President to access the nuclear codes. They decided to secure the software. At the time, Hopkins lived on thirty-eight acres that he had converted into a makeshift wildlife sanctuary. He burned the code to a DVD, and then walked out and buried it.
[Read on ...]
Quote from article, nice sales pitch ...
A human-to-machine relationship defined by estrangement offers a unique sales opportunity: fomenting anxiety turns out to be an excellent way to draw in clients. One of the first people to identify the tactic was the director of I.B.M.'s Advanced Computing Systems Laboratory, Gene Amdahl, who left his job in 1970 to build machines that could run I.B.M. software more cheaply. As Amdahl went to market, he learned that his former employer was warning potential customers that any hardware not made by I.B.M. was fraught with risk. The feeling that I.B.M. was hoping to inspire, Amdahl noted wryly, was "FUD"--fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The name stuck. In the nineties, Microsoft pursued a canonical FUD strategy, creating phony error messages to make consumers wary of using Windows on a competitor's operating system--a tactic that resulted in a legal settlement exceeding two hundred million dollars.
A legal case bsed on "FUD" - SCO's Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to IBM's Motion to Compel Discovery.
Tried to make some sense out of it by searching the Internet .. I did not succeed.
The Devil Inside the Beltway: The Shocking Expose of the US Government's Surveillance and Overreach Into Cybersecurity, Medicine and Small Business
In 2008, Michael Daugherty, CEO of LabMD, a private Atlanta-based cancer detection facility, received a call from Tiversa, a Pittsburgh-based data security firm, stating that they had obtained a 1,718-page patient health information file belonging to LabMD through a peer-2-peer (P2P) network. Tiversa wasn't about to divulge any further information about its acquisition until LabMD bought into their unsolicited lawyer-fee services. Daugherty had no idea that his polite refusal to Tiversa's assistance would lead to an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and thereby thrusting him into a nightmarish four-year journey Inside the Beltway - "an idiom used to characterize matters that seem to be important primarily to U.S. federal government officials, its contractors, lobbyists, and the corporate media who cover them, as opposed to the interests and priorities of the general U.S. population." (Edited from Wikipedia).
The Devil Inside the Beltway is not limited to Daugherty's harrowing story. It is replete with enough factual information about the FTC that would make our Founding Fathers voluntarily turn in their graves just to hide their utter shame over a system they painstakingly sculpted that has gone awry. As of January 29, 2014, Daugherty announced on his blog that "the debilitating effects of the FTC investigative practices and litigation have forced him to wind down operations" at LabMd.
A Leak Wounded This Company. Fighting the Feds Finished It Off | Bloomberg - April 2016 |
In April he was eating dinner with friends at a Thai restaurant in Atlanta when his cell phone rang. It was Richard Wallace, an analyst who'd just left Tiversa. Daugherty recalls pacing the parking lot as Wallace, his voice shaky, confessed his role in LabMD's destruction. Wallace told Daugherty he'd been the one to discover the LabMD file while probing the company through the open LimeWire connection. Tiversa had never found any copies of the files outside LabMD's own computer network, he said. Wallace told Daugherty that when LabMD refused to engage Tiversa's services, Boback retaliated by adding LabMD to a list of supposedly compromised companies and organizations, which was sent to the FTC in late 2009. Boback also instructed him to create a fake trail of Web addresses where the LabMD file had supposedly been found, Wallace said, as evidence for the FTC's case.
○ Tiversa, Inc. : White Knight or Hi-tech Protection Racket | U.S. Congress Report - Jan. 2015 |
○ Former Tiversa employee at center of House probe of Pittsburgh firm
Related reading ...
○ RAT: Prolific Malware Developer Responsible for Countless Computer Intrusions
○ Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Outlook and Review: 2015