10th Man Manifesto

The Seattle Mariners are, objectively, one of the least successful franchises in Major League Baseball.  They are one of two teams never to play in a World Series.  Through 2014, they have the third lowest winning percentage among Major League franchises; trailing only the Rays and the Padres.  And, perhaps most viscerally for Mariner fans, their 13 year postseason drought is the second longest in the sport.

At the same time, fan engagement in the Mariners is similarly stagnant.  While the level of fan interest is harder to quantify, attendance figures have dwindled steadily over time as the team has struggled.  And the numbers don’t tell the story of how many fans at the ballpark are there for the overall experience rather than to do all they can to help the team win.  It is easy to mock fan excitement for gimmicks such as the Boat Races, the Hat Trick, or even the dancing grounds crew.  But such gimmicks are enjoyed all over baseball.  What is damning is not that those events are popular, but that the noise they generate is not consistently matched during game action.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks have enjoyed recent success unparalleled in its history, and in the history of all but a handful of teams.  That success has coincided with what is generally understood to be the loudest fan base in football, and one of the best.  It is accepted as fact that Seahawk fans not only root for their team’s success; they are an active part of achieving that success.  Seahawks fans have come to be known as the “12th Man” or just “12’s”.

These facts beg the question:  why are the fan bases of these two teams – next door neighbors – so different?  One could simplistically posit that it is simply a function of success; the Seahawks are good, so the fans support them.  The Mariners are not, so the fans do not.

However, this explanation is at best unsatisfactory, and at worst circular.  It is generally accepted that an engaged fan base can have a direct impact on a team’s success on the field.  Of course, it is at most a fraction of the impact that is had by the players, coaches, and front office.  Alas, sports fans have no control over any of those factors.  Fans can only impact the results on the field in one way; their level of engagement.

As the Mariners begin the second half of the 2015 season, their performance is once again disappointing.  The sports narrative focuses on the number of days until NFL training camp and where to cast blame for this season’s failures.  As Mariner fans, we have the option of accepting this narrative, and thereby perpetuating the cycle of disappointment and failure that has permeated the team and its fans for the last decade.

But Mariner fans have another option.  We can choose to increase our level of engagement to match our engagement in the Seahawks.  We can choose to accept that we have an option to be a direct part of our baseball team’s fortunes every bit as much as those of our football team.  Indeed, we can acknowledge that, in at least some small way, we already have played a direct part in its fortunes.  The term “home field advantage” has been an oxymoron at Safeco Field.  Divvy up that “blame pie” however you want; just make sure to leave a slice for you and your fellow fans.

I propose that we, the Mariner fans, choose to take the first step toward reversing the fortunes of our team.  I propose that we, the fans, choose – one by one by one – to do all we can do to increase the chances that the Mariners win home games by virtue of our actions.  That we model ourselves after the Seahawk fans who congregate down the street (many of them, of course, are us) and the fans of other baseball franchises whose engagement helps their teams succeed on the field.

To that end, I propose the following 6 direct actions that the fans begin implementing immediately, upon the team’s return to town on July 24.  These are just one fan’s initial suggestions.  They are intended to generate interest and discussion; not to dictate your actions.  Hopefully refinements and completely new and better ideas follow.

  1. Begin identifying ourselves as “the 10th Man” or “the 10’s”. This is not a new idea; there is a Facebook page already devoted to the idea.  There hasn’t been a post on it in two months.  That’s telling.
  2. Impose the “two strike” clap for all of our pitchers; not just one of them.
  3. There is a baseball axiom that “momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher”. Mariner fans have a unique level of access to the opposing team’s starting pitcher before every home game.  A metal fence and no more than five feet separates that pitcher’s pre-game preparation from fans free to engage with him in a direct way.  There are numerous options for this.  I am not proposing that fans be uncivil (we have a Code of Conduct, after all).  But there is no reason why fans could engage in a pre-game ritual designed to distract him.  We could engage in monk-like chanting.  We could throw around a giant (fake) fish, like they do in Pike’s Place Market.    Anything.  It can’t be less effective than nothing.
  4. Yankee fans are known for their “roll call”. In the top of the 1st inning, the bleacher fans chant the name of every defensive player, along with the rhythmic clapping (you can close your eyes and imagine them saying “Der-ek Je-ter, CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP).  While the clapping is and should remain theirs, there is no reason Mariner fans could not acknowledge of their players at the beginning of each game.  Perhaps a simple 2-3 syllable chant (“SEE-ger…SEE-ger.”)  Give the fans a moment of connection with each player.
  5. Commit to higher levels of noise during game action, designed to inspire our team and intimidate the opposition.
  6. Sign the Petition at seelysecurity.com/10thman to add your voice to the list of Mariner fans who are ready to do their part to bring greater success to their team.

Baseball players are human beings; human beings are affected by their environment.  Anyone who claims that fans cannot have an impact on the game are not basing their beliefs on evidence or common sense.

Some might ask whether the team “deserves” this level of engagement.  You are, of course, free to answer that question in the negative and go about your day.  Arguably, sports as a whole receives far more attention than it deserves.  But ultimately, we choose to be fans not for the teams we root for, but for ourselves.

It follows that choosing a higher level of engagement for the Mariners would be a gift not primarily to them, but to each other.  Will it help?  It won’t hurt.  It will make the games far more fun for the people there and for the fans unable (or unwilling) to attend in person.  And statistical probability dictates that, sooner or later, the Mariners will be good again.  Do you want to be one of the fans who sat back with his arms folded until the winning came, or do you want to feel like you helped bring about the franchise’s change of direction?  I would prefer the latter.

That’s why I’m signing first.  And I’ll be at the game on July 24th in my home jersey with the number 10 on the back and the name “FAN” above it.  Join me.

Brian Muchinsky

Brian Muchinsky is a lifelong baseball fan.  He is an attorney in Bellevue and the co-author of Cyber Fraud:  The Web of Lies, available on Amazon.

The first AMA interview via Mark Cuban’s Cyberdust Messaging App

The first AMA interview via Mark Cuban’s Cyberdust Messaging App

Cyberdust has been growing quite rapidly for sometime now, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. The Cyberdust team has brilliant engineers, great leadership, as well has having an excellent product that is easy to use. Not many apps get designed from the ground up with end user privacy and security in mind. Even fewer have the Mark Cuban brand name associated with it.

Yesterday was an exciting day, as Cyberdust had its first official AMA style interview where users of Cyberdust could ask questions to a selected person on the platform on the +AskMeAnything account. Since I had just released my first book the day prior and had been an early adopter / user of Cyberdust, it made sense to do an AMA to talk about cyber security, hacking and anything else people wanted to know.

Most websites that host ama style interviews will show all the questions and answers (like Reddit) and this can be a great way to answer questions publicly. I am all for having an open forum, but there was something unique about being able to respond to people candidly and without fear of having your answers seen by the entire world.

Let me walk you through the experience.

The community manager, Grace, gave me the login and password for the Cyberdust +Askmeanything account the night before. Grace then announced the AMA event about an hour before it started, and I logged in at 10am PST and sent out a blast notifying users that I was ready for whatever questions they wanted answers to.  I did provide my name, bio information, and what I do for a living, as well as announcing the launch of my book on Amazon.com the day prior.

People that followed that account (about 400,000) then received that blast message and many started sending questions to me. This is where things got interesting. I had no idea how many people were going to be interested in chatting, and before i knew it, I had been typing for 5, almost 6 hours straight without so much as leaving my chair.  If I had to guess, there were over 800 people who asked questions, many of whom asked more than one.

I wanted to share with you some of the questions that were asked, as well as my answers, so that people who missed the event can potentially get answers to questions they might have as well. I’ll start with the most common questions that were asked.

Question 1. Who killed JFK – More than 20 people asked this question. You all thought you were the only ones, didn’t you.
Answer: My default answer was usually something sarcastic, like Jack Bauer or Sterling Archer.

Question 2. Are we really being hacked by China? 
Answer: Since I don’t work for the federal government, I can’t comment with 100% certainty that they perpetrated one hack in particular. Sources in nearly every story regarding the OPM breach say yes, it was China.  You can watch a real time hacking map of the world at Norse.com

Question 3. Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried? – Again, 10+ people asked this. I was surprised that so many people asked the same obscure question.
Answer: I answered, under Yankee Stadium.

Question 4. What are your best tips to avoid being hacked?
Answer:

  1. Strong Passphrases, not passwords. These are easier to remember so you don’t have to write them down on a sticky note. Think “Icantdancetosavemylife!!!” or “Canjetfuelmeltsteelbeams?”  not 7&6^5%ridiculous@#$6(*.   No way you are gonna remember the complicated one, and writing passwords down is the worst thing you can do.
  2. Get a VPN for all surfing outside of your home. Many people bring laptops to coffee shops, and if so, USE A VPN. They are roughly 7-10$ a month. Here is a link to many of the best rated ones. Pick one. They are simple to install.
  3. Use full disk encryption. TrueCrypt is still better than nothing, and there are alternatives. 

Question 5. What is your book about? / Why did you wiretap the Secret Service?
Answer: Here is a short interview I did on King 5 news here in Seattle that discusses the book I just wrote and the reason why I did what I did.

Question 6. Where do I start to learn how to be an ethical hacker? 
Answer: You can find Certified Ethical Hacking videos on youtube, or videos to prep you for the CISSP exam. Both of those certifications are highly desirable, and you will learn a lot by watching boot camp / tutorials.

There were many other questions, and I will try to remember more if people want. You don’t have to feel like you missed out however, you can always add me on cyberdust at +bryanthemapsguy and ask me a question anytime, or email me. I’m on Linkedin.com, twitter, so there really is no excuse for not being able to reach me.

It was a lot of fun answering questions on Cyberdust, and I was still answering questions until 10-11pm although very few people were asking by that point. It was an honor to be able to do the first official AMA for Cyberdust, and help with outlining the process and coming up with ways to make it easier on the interview. My first recommendation is get a bluetooth keyboard for your iphone or ipad, so you can type faster. I was still behind by 100-200 messages nearly the entire first half of the day.

 

Hackers Stole ALL Federal Employee’s SSN’s

Hackers Stole ALL Federal Employee’s SSN’s

If you know someone who works for the federal government or used to, send them the link to this article immediately.

Sources at the Office of Personnel Management claims that the hack that was reported last week was even larger than anyone imagined.

According to a federal worker union, hackers gained access to Social Security Numbers of

  • All current federal employees
  • All federal retired employees
  • 1 million former federal employees

According to a letter given to the Associated Press, the hackers also got access to military records, veterans status information, addresses, birth dates, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance, pension information, age, gender and race data.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the hackers were inside for more than a year before a sales demo by a tech firm found the malware. Basically it was only discovered by blind luck. I hope that company ended up getting whatever contract they were trying to get.

To think that the largest breach in the history of the U.S. Government was discovered by sheer luck does not give me a lot of faith in our system.

I will be detailing various steps in a post tomorrow regarding things that can be done to protect yourself.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to reach out to me via email at bryan@seelysecurity.com
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Giant Security & Antivirus Company Kaspersky Lab Admits Being Hacked

Giant Security & Antivirus Company Kaspersky Lab Admits Being Hacked

The Russian security giant Kaspersky Lab admitted to being hacked. Kaspersky Lab CEO and founder Eugene Kaspersky wrote on their corporate blog 

“We discovered an advanced attack on our own internal networks. It was complex, stealthy, it exploded several zero-day vulnerabilities, and we’re quite confident that there’s a nation state behind it.”

Kaspersky is one of the largest provider of consumer antivirus software, not to mention being an industry leader in the world of cyber security. The attack was named Duqu 2.0, which is a reference to the specific piece of malware called Duqu that was widely considered to be closely linked to the Stuxnet attack that targeted Iran, India, France and the Ukraine in 2011.

The intention behind the attack was to gain access to Kaspersky’s corporate networks to learn more about its products, and that Kaspersky Lab was not the only target.

This attack was actually kind of stupid on the part of the hackers, particularly because security firms like Kaspersky Lab generally sell exploits and other security products on the open market, so the hackers could have paid for the information that they were after in the first place. By hacking Kaspersky Lab, they took the risk of getting caught, which they did, and ultimately revealed their own capabilities. Think of this discovery as Kaspersky Lab being able to see the cards that these attackers had in their hand.

With the brazen attack on Kaspersky, consumers everywhere will likely have concerns about their antivirus solutions. This is understandable from a consumer perspective, as the company you were counting on to protect you from malware could not protect itself from malware.  Eugene Kaspersky took to twitter to reassure enterprise customers and consumers that there is no risk to them. Kaspersky has always created great products and this reassurance is helpful, but if there was a risk to their customers, would they be as forth coming with a warning as they are with their reassurance.

TIPS:
Change your Password – Read about how important this is here.

If you have any concerns about antivirus software, the risk that hackers pose to you or your company, feel free to reach out to me via email at bryan@seelysecurity.com
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U.S. Officials: This Is Largest Breach of Government Networks Ever.

U.S. Officials: This Is Largest Breach of Government Networks Ever.

 

The Office of Personnel Management and Department of Interior were originally thought to be the only agencies breached, but now the reports are showing it could be much worse.

Government officials are saying that nearly every federal government agency was hit by the hackers. They went on to say that this could be the biggest cyber attack in U.S. history.

The reason that it was not previously known was that the types, styles and signatures of the attacks were changed from target to target so they didn’t look like the same attack or source.

Officials are also saying that they strongly believe that this was the work of the Chinese government, which the Chinese government called irresponsible allegations.

The hackers who are allegedly working for the Chinese government / military are reported to be assembling a massive database of American citizens. If this database does exist and is being put together by hackers in the Chinese government or military, we know they are not going to be using it for good. Worst case scenario involves completely overhauling Social Security numbers, which one can’t even fathom in terms of scope or cost to the American tax payer.

There will undoubtedly be more to come in these stories as information gets to the public.  For those who have worked for the federal government or still currently do, ask your chain of command for instructions or follow the news for any new developments.

For any questions or comments please email bryan@seelysecurity.com
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4 million Federal Government Employees Affected By Massive Cyber Attack

4 million Federal Government Employees Affected By Massive Cyber Attack

UPDATE: Story has expanded, and Officials now saying all government agencies might have been compromised and said this is the biggest U.S. Government breach in U.S. History
Story Here

The Office of Personnel Management released information today that Chinese Hackers are suspected in the massive cyber attack that is potentially compromising up to 4 million current and former U.S. Federal Government employees. Information is being released by the Office of Personnel management quickly but the worst part about getting information about the Chinese hackers is that in an hour the press is hungry for more.

There are 2.7 million federal executive branch employees, and details are not clear if this is affecting every single one of them or not.

This breach does not affect the military, legislative or judicial branches, according to reports.

CNN reported that The federal personnel office learned of the data breach after using a detection system called EINSTEIN to eventually unearth the information breach in April 2015, the Department of Homeland Security said.  A month later, the federal agency learned sensitive data had been compromised.

“We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously, and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace,” the FBI said in a statement.

The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday that Chinese hackers were responsible for the breach.

What does this mean to you? 

This means that potentially 1% of the entire population of the United States was affected by this breach which can have really serious financial consequences. China could potentially have all of those employee social security numbers, dates of birth, and other sensitive information. The implications for identity theft are disastrous.

If China wanted to send spies to the United States, they now have millions of identities to assume, and one would only need to file the appropriate paperwork to get a passport, retrieve old birth certificates, considering the wealth of information they undoubtedly have.

If you know someone who has worked for the federal government, send them a link to this story. They need to be made aware so they can follow the story and learn more  as the story develops.

For any questions or comments please email bryan@seelysecurity.com
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