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Why you should never, never, never, NEVER order a computer online, whether from Amazon or anybody else

Der Spiegel has a fascinating article on an entire "dark internet" set up by the NSA, but this paragraph jumped out at me:

Sometimes it appears that the world's most modern spies are just as reliant on conventional methods of reconnaissance as their predecessors.

Take, for example, when they intercept shipping deliveries. If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO [Tailored Access Operations] can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called "load stations," agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.

These minor disruptions in the parcel shipping business rank among the "most productive operations" conducted by the NSA hackers, one top secret document relates in enthusiastic terms. This method, the presentation continues, allows TAO to obtain access to networks "around the world."

So, if your Xmas computer arrived a day late, maybe NSA's "Santa's Workshop" was why!

Of course, it would be utterly foily to connect that story to this one: "Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays". I mean, that would imply the NSA was installing a massive botnet with hundreds of thousands of nodes. And there's just no evidence for that.

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Submitted by Dromaius on

"Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays".

So NSA apparently loaded malware onto the magnifying lamp I bought my SO.... It was GUARANTEED for Christmas, but secretly scheduled for later.

Note: I did not procrastinate. I tried finding the lamp locally for days on end and could not. I had decided to skip it for now, but then ordered it under "guaranteed Christmas delivery" figuring it was okay if it didn't make it, but figuring it WOULD arrive on time. I checked on Christmas Eve when it was supposed to arrive. It was in Portland, delivery scheduled for 12/27 and considered ON TIME!

Thus, UPS and Amazon had no intention of making the Guaranteed Christmas Delivery! That, my friends was the scam. They knew they couldn't make the guarantee, but they wanted to starve the brick and mortar stores of the money anyway. They didn't care if they screwed a few customers doing it. It was direct predation against last minute brick and mortar shopping, clear and simple.

Of course, I both chatted with and emailed Amazon Customer Service and got two gift cards rather than one! for my trouble. The two promo cards more than covered the cost of the lamp. I actually made a little money on that deal!

So the moral of the story is I'm crossing my fingers that Amazon has "guaranteed delivery" next year. They may not, considering the lies they told this year. Maybe someone with some clout and morals will step in and say, no you can't. (Of course, that person definitely won't be scumbag Inslee, but I digress). If they do have the guarantee, I will buy something (hopefully that I actually need). I will cross my fingers that it won't make it to me by Christmas. If it doesn't arrive, I will contact both chat and email customer service and figure I'll get the item for free-plus again.

Y'all make a pact to do the same, okay? If we do it en mass, it will (1) hurt Amazon; (2) help ensure they won't be able to make "guaranteed" Christmas delivery so that we're more likely to benefit.

I otherwise will not be shopping Amazon if I can possibly avoid it, even though they are a local corp and my nephew works there, which is why I have ever felt any loyalty at all to them. As we all know, they are the worst kind of predatory liars, but this Christmas guarantee fiasco doubled down the proof.

blues's picture
Submitted by blues on

I'm guessing that that horse left the barn years ago. I read a rumor somewhere that Intel (the CPU chip maker) baked cell phones into their CPUs, so that circuit chip in your machine can call up _someone_ anytime.

My years in the electronics biz taught me many strange things about “security.” I applied for a job at an oil exploration company, and just to get into the first office past the front door they had to know my complete life story, and stick a big ugly plastic “badge” on me, made just for me.

Another time I was doing a “frequency coordination” microwave survey at the very top of the United Nations building, overlooking the East River. I was way up there, 544 feet above the streets on a black tarred roof with a one foot parapet between me and eternity. There was absolutely no (visible) security. We simply shoved a 6’ tall metal crate loaded with spectrum analyzers and many other odd looking tech devices right through the front door, into the elevator, and basically hit the “roof” button. Easy as rolling into a junkyard. There was absolutely zero “security” (right). When they are REALLY watching you will NOT know it. We were not able to locate a dish antenna up there because the microwave EMF intensity was so high it nearly cooked us. We ended up destroying a lovely little garden on the ground to install a satellite transceiver dish, which was surrounded by buildings that provided “blockage.” (I hope this is interesting enough for you all.)

Bruce Schneier, the putative number one computer security guru still thinks that machines can be made safe enough to count votes. Oh crazy new world that has such people in it!

I just boot up straight from a Linux DVD and order from New Egg. They already own you anyway.