Our Fragile Civilization

Mark Steyn argued that exclusively blaming the other political side for your troubles can provide false comfort. When everything is falling apart the problem is probably bigger than any one point of view. "The point about civilizational collapse is that it's a civilization that's collapsing, not merely your political arrangements." Take the ransomware attacks which paralyzed Britain's national health service which forced the cancellation of operations and other medical treatments. "A global cyberattack leveraging hacking tools widely believed by researchers to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency hit international shipper FedEx, disrupted Britain’s health system and infected computers in dozens of other countries on Friday."  Everybody was affected.  It didn't matter how you voted.

The incident revealed at least ten NHS trusts still relied on the Windows XP.  The instrusion allegedly relied on NSA tools stolen during the Obama administration from a contractor. "According to one source, that includes more than 75 percent of the hacking tools belonging to the Tailored Access Operations. TAO is an elite hacking unit that develops and deploys some of the world's most sophisticated software exploits."

An unnamed US official told the paper that Martin allegedly hoarded more than 75 percent of the TAO's library of hacking tools. It's hard to envision a scenario under which a theft of that much classified material by a single individual would be possible.

When Shadow Brokers appeared in October, it published hundreds of TAO-developed exploits, including one that, for years, had exploited what was then a critical unknown vulnerability in a widely used firewall sold by Cisco Systems. Last month, the person or group said it was shutting down in a post that dumped 61 Windows-formatted binary files. Whether Martin was somehow involved with Shadow Brokers or was a compulsive hoarder working alone, the events underscore serious security lapses inside the NSA.

It was a long time coming.  The defection of Edward Snowden, the Office of Personnel Management data breach and the now infamous Hillary hacks all predated Trump though the vulnerabilities will probably continue under him. The list of commercial data breaches is also stunningly long. "It is estimated that in 2015 alone, 707 million records were exposed as a result of data breaches". These suggest that too many of our systems may be built on rotten props or false assumptions. The ice looked solid enough until the weight of civilization stepped on it and things fell through.

One of the weaknesses of the anti-Trump resistance is their inability to address the factors which brought the current administration into existence.  Too many think it's all about one man.  This may explain why the Resistance to the Resistance has been surprisingly hard to push off the Hill and why Bernie Sanders is the most popular Democratic politician in America.  The key insight into the problem is that people didn't vote for Trump but against Hillary, PC, and the ending of their world. Charles Sykes in New York Times noted this element of sheer reaction. "Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters don’t have to defend his specific actions as long as they make liberal heads explode".