Monday, March 13, 2017


Bogachev, hacker.

When I woke up at 4AM to check the cat situation and look at computer stories, there was a story in the NY Times that named a master computer hacker who lives in the orbit of Russia, openly, though he engages in world-wide criminal activities, snooping through everyone’s computers, large and small.  A photo of him shows him holding up his “Bengal cat” with jungle spots.  This means that he has probably been through my computer because I talked about Bengal cats on this blog so a “crawler” would turn me up.  Even a simple Google search would find me.  I keep trying to tell friends and relatives that the Internet has done the equivalent of ripping off the fourth wall of every room in their house, but their heads won’t go around it.

In this house the cat situation is not simple.  Yesterday Duckie, the most Bengal-marked cat, gave birth in grisly fashion.  She screamed as her uterus pushed her kittens against her pelvis, forcing it to open enough to let kittens out.  And then she ran.  I followed, trying to corral and comfort her, but the upshot was that each kitten was born some different place and she didn’t stick around to lick them off and nurse them.  Instead she left a series of bloody smears and gory lumps, both in the boxes I’d put out for her and in the seats of reading chairs, on the bed, even on the floor.  The other cats were scandalized, sitting where they could see but not touch anything and growling fiercely.  In one long interval, Finnegan — probably both her father and her inseminator — let her lean against him.

The first two kittens died right away.  The third also died in a little while.  The fourth is alive and crying at the moment, though safe on a bed in the clothes closet.  Duckie has been packing it around the house from one “safe” place to another.  She has begun to nurse and lick it.  She responds if it cries and it finally began to root and suck after hours of barely moving.  A single kitten is not happy because it is meant to share a nest.  People who talk about how wonderful childbirth is and invite their children to observe are simply out of touch with reality.

The temp outside is up to forty.  This means that by noon one will need waders and pontoons to go anywhere.  The high is expected to hit fifty and stay above freezing for the next few days, even at night.  This means floods.

Back to the Russian hacker.  The story has seemed to disappear from the media.  So far I’ve seen no comments.  Instead there are a lot of other stories on the morning news, which is always sensational, unreliable, and being told by glamorous young women and dodgy older men.  They’re off after the latest shiny object:  KellyAnne suggesting espionage by microwave ovens.  She’s the same problem as Trump, making us wonder whether she’s incredibly stupid or pretending to be a moron as a defense-by-distraction.  

The hacker story turned up on my automatic feed.  I can’t go back to look again now because I’ve hit the paywall on both the NY Times and the Washington Post.  Even the Economist.  “Paywalls” are devilish little systems for wringing subscriptions out of reluctant but curious people.  They backfire with me — try to force me or entice me for the sake of making a profit and I’m gone.

The NYTimes teaser said:

It appears that the Russian authorities, leaning on the work of a hacker, grafted an intelligence operation onto a far-reaching cybercriminal scheme.

Twitter provided this:

Michael SchwirtzVerified account

If I achieve nothing else in my career, at least I'll be able to say I got this cat photo
[left above]  on the front page of the Times
Michael SchwirtzVerified account
5h5 hours ago

The FBI's most wanted cyber criminal--a lover of luxury cars, possible Russian spy. And check out his fancy cat.

Some great reporting here by
@mschwirtz & Goldstein:   Russian Espionage Piggybacks on a Cybercriminal’s Hacking

"Mr. Bogachev’s exploits may have created an irresistible opportunity for espionage."

Confluence of state and criminal cyber actors makes attribution harder & threats greater
@mschwirtz @JoeKGoldstein

Michael SchwirtzVerified account
The FBI's most wanted cyber criminal--a lover of fancy cars and leopard-print pajamas--also might be a Russian spy

1st article I've seen to start to get at how they do it: "Russian Espionage Piggybacks on a Cybercriminal’s Hacking"


By now I’ve found a place to download the story, which is very detailed but doesn’t specifically tie to Repubs or Trumpians.  I suspect that it DOES link in reality.

As for what ties Duckie the Delinquent Mother together with the continuing international scandal, the theme is how bad it has to get before something happens.  Every day there is more damning evidence about this election and yet nothing happens.  Maybe they’re waiting for divine intervention.  

An astonishing 88 percent of those who originally backed Trump during his campaign approve of his current job performance and 91 percent of his original supporters still have a favorable view of him. 

How bad does this cat situation need to get before I pay $50 per cat to euthanize them?  That’s $400.  (There are no humane society shelters nearby.)  The cats and I have had respiratory infections for a few weeks.  Runny noses, crusty eyes, general aching and need to sleep.  It’s not just me and eight cats.  Both the city employees have been too sick to plow the streets.  The mayor had to find someone who could keep the state-required  water and sewer functions operating.  It’s far more technical and complex than people realize.  The clerk and the mayor also got sick, so the Town Office was closed.  

This is the first time I’ve been really sick since I moved here in 1999.  It was bad enough that I began considering whether I ought to call the ambulance.  As cold as it was just then, as snow-and-ice-and-wind-ridden the roads were, driving the thirty miles to an hospital emergency room was preposterous.  I decided to die in my own bed.

I thought of the pre-Christmas week at Heart Butte in 1990.  Kids kept getting sick and throwing up.  The janitor faithfully circulated all day with his pail and mop.  But then he started throwing up.  At that point the superintendent declared an early start to the vacation and sent everyone home.  No one objected.

I came to the rez to teach in 1961.  JFK had just been elected.  Two years later he was assassinated and we all left Camelot, but I stayed in Browning.  By 1968 when MLK Jr. was assassinated, I had quit teaching and was married to Bob Scriver.  In 1969 the astronauts walked on the moon and a lot of people refused to believe it.  I suspect they were the grandparents of the people who still believe in Trump.  The same people who refuse to believe in global warming.  Of course, it will be easier to accept now that the temp is forty rising to fifty.  How bad does it have to get before we grasp the necessity of changing our categories?  What keeps us from acting?

[Duckie's fourth kitten went silent.  It's missing.  No doubt dead.  Maybe it's for the best.  Duckie is not her usual exuberant self, but she was a lousy mother.]

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