What not to do

I’ve been watching a video where it is explained how some hackers get caught.

Based on all the technobabble those people espouse, you’d expect them to get caught because they used Windows or a Mac instead of Linux, or Ubuntu instead of Kali, or because they didn’t use an open source BIOS flashed on an old Thinkpad, or because of some exploit in Linux kernel or Tor. What actually happened is, they talked too much on IRC and other places, bragging to other hackers about their exploits in order to bolster their reputation, and they talked too much about their personal circumstances, because they were lonely. Also, they had multiple aliases but ended up overlapping all of them because you can’t bolster your credibility in hacking circles unless it all connects to you. One was careless enough to cross-reference himself to a domain he used where his real contact info was available to anyone using whois. Then FBI blackmailed him to serve as an informant, and he promptly told them everything he knew about everybody else in his circles and they all got busted.

It got me thinking – apparently, the problem with people is that they expect all kinds of complicated means to be used against them, and in reality it is all very simple. For instance, the reason why Snowden never got caught, and why Assange got arrested and Lira was arrested and killed, it’s all very simple. Snowden had a bad plan like the other two – he’d go to Latin America and “get lost” somewhere, reunite with his girlfriend and so on. What would have happened had he managed to pull that off is that the CIA would have traced his girlfriend to him, he’d get busted and that would have been the end of it. Instead, the CIA was over-vigilant and interrupted his poorly conceived plan by cancelling his passport while he was in Moscow waiting for his next flight. By doing this, they forced him to request asylum in Russia, and thus accidentally stranded him in the safest place on Earth for someone running away from America – a nuclear superpower that was just starting to say “no” to America, and he didn’t even realise how incredibly lucky he was at that point. Assange, however, sought refuge in Ecuadorian embassy in London, very much in line of what Snowden tried to do, but London is under complete control of America, Ecuador is a small and weak country that proved soft under American pressure, and he was trapped and eventually deported. Gonzalo Lira made a mistake of trying to keep his sons in school in Ukraine, preserving a sense of normalcy for them instead of understanding that this is a dangerous fallacy; also, he initially had a very poor understanding of the situation, and his opinion of Russia was influenced by both Ukrainian and American propaganda, and so his understanding evolved as time passed and he kept publishing his reports. By the time he figured out the situation, he already missed the opportunity for quiet evacuation of himself and his entire family from Ukraine, and liquidation of his assets there, and by the time he was arrested for the first time, he was basically a known enemy of a totalitarian regime, at the territory controlled by said regime. His second mistake was to obey the laws and play by the rules, and this was fatal, because when he was arrested for the second time, he was tortured and extorted for money, and when he was temporarily released, he tried to exit Ukraine on a legitimate border crossing after publishing a video about it (!), he was of course caught, imprisoned and eventually died in captivity. Basically, when shit hits the fan, fuck the law, and fuck the rules. You need to get your money, bribe someone to get you out of the country, and go to a place that is actually safe, not the place that you like or have romantic ideas about.

Essentially, what gets people caught/killed are simple, stupid mistakes, not some exploit in ssl. You get killed by believing in the rule of law, you get killed because you were trained to play by the rules of society and that is absolutely lethal when the state is taken over by evil groups, or society collapses. You get killed because you believe in sanctity of embassies, because you believe in freedom of the press, because you call ambulance when you’re sick or injured, and because you believe in legal ways of doing things, instead of acting like a professional criminal, because when the state is taken over by evil people, good people become criminals, and they would greatly benefit from understanding this fact, and acting accordingly. If you’re on the territory of 3rd Reich, you must either be a law abiding Nazi, or a criminal. The only third option is to be a victim.

What gets people killed is lack of understanding that their “normal life” is over. Any wish to preserve normalcy is deadly when excrement starts hitting the impeller.