Friday, February 13, 2015

"Hacking" the Roswell Slides


My good friend Nick Redfern has a new column written at Mysterious Universe wherein he discusses the alleged hacking episode of the broader Roswell slides story. Nick maintains that it's "impossible" that a Dream Teamers would be involved in the hacking, largely because, he says, they wouldn't hack their own e-mail and then call law enforcement. And yet, I know people who have done exactly that, from first-hand experience.
When I was stationed with the RCMP in northern Cape Breton years ago, we were called to investigate a crime - property destruction - where the owner wanted us to believe that his neighbour had done it. Indeed, many of the indications pointed to the neighbour, with whom the complainant had a long-running feud. The only problem was that unbeknownst to the complainant, the neighbour had an air-tight alibi for the night in question... at which point we started to smell something fishy. Eventually, the complainant admitted he had done it himself to try and get his arch-enemy in trouble.
Stupid? Perhaps. But it happens, particularly when one has a motive and potential reward that they judge outweighs any risk. It's a question of a cost-benefit analysis.
Which brings us back to the "hacking" case with the slides. Nick rightly dismisses the idea of government involvement. Unless you're the truest of true believers, then I'm sure you do as well. His prime suspect is some other UFO researcher. But that strikes me as unlikely. There's no motive, other than the possibility of finding the slides and then... what? Posting them? As soon as that happened, he would identify himself as the hacker, or if someone else did it for him it would be traced back pretty quickly. That would be truly stupid given that the payoff would be so penny ante.
No, the people with motive and opportunity would have been the Dream Teamers, because something like having your e-mail hacked is gold if you're trying to build a con based on a conspiracy narrative, which is what the slides story is really all about at its core. The payoff is potentially huge (that 10,000 seat arena in Mexico City just being the lucrative start). Given that, then someone on the Dream Team - and let's recall that Donald Schmitt has a proven record of underhanded activities, and now they have linked up with one of the most disreputable hucksters out there, Jaime Maussan - could easily have judged it worth any risk.
A report to the FBI might have been an unintended consequence, or maybe it was all part of the plan, to add a little extra juice. Because here's the real truth - unless the hacking involved terrorism or corporate espionage, the FBI was highly unlikely to do anything other than a quick pro forma "investigation" and then move on to more important things... particularly when they realized it was UFO nuts (in their eyes) making the complaint. And that seems to be exactly what happened, at least to me. When I conduct a cost-benefit analysis, the risks are just as low for Dream Teamers as any ufologist (and probably lower), while the rewards are the highest.
My friend Nick? An unwitting part of it all, who is giving the "hackers" even more of what I have no doubt they were after all the time. - publicity. They are no doubt sitting back and saying, "mission accomplished" as they plan their trip to Mexico City.

Paul Kimball

25 comments:

Terry the Censor said...

If the hacking is brought up to promote the May "reveal," or is mentioned during the show, that would support your hypothesis.

I hope bloggers will log such mentions.

Paul Kimball said...

I think it's already been brought up plenty, Terry... especially by Bragalia. I think we'll see it woven into the story further. Also, I think with all of this we're seeing a classic and relatively sophisticated social media marketing campaign, where the hucksters are letting all of us do much of their work for them. I've actually attended seminars on how to use those techniques as a filmmaker, and what I'm seeing unfold is textbook.

PK

Kandinsky said...

Let's assume Bragalia has taken the reasonable action of changing his passwords and checking his PC/laptop for malware since these incidents.

It would be interesting to see what p/w he used when the hack occurred. Was it strong?

I only mention this as the weakest point in on-line security is always the victim. They frequently use common p/ws or rely on guessable p/ws that can be gleaned from public information.

For example, if he used 12345 or roswelltruth, an average miscreant with time on their hands might be able to guess it without ever being noticed. Enter the wrong p/w 3-4 times and you can find yourself locked out - enter 2 a day and the system doesn't notice. Personal questions are often mother's maiden name, favourite teams, favourite cities or names of pets. Stuff that gets posted on FB without a thought.

Social engineering is another known approach. Has anyone he knows had physical access to his computers? Also, we tend to trust mail from those we know. *If* a trusted contact sent an attachment that contained a keylogger/trojan, most of us would open it. If the anti-malware apps missed it, who'd know?

They'd need to know his email address to even begin to try hacking the p/w. Coincidentally, I was asked for Nick's email address 3 times by people I didn't know a couple of years ago.

Paul Kimball said...

I suspect the "hackers" knew his e-mail address intimately, Kandinsky... because there were no "hackers," just his associates. I also suspect that the FBI took a pretty humorous view about this terrible "crime."

I could be wrong. Maybe Nick is right. Maybe there really was a hacker that had nothing to do with the Dream Team. But an objective analysis of this all leads me to conclude otherwise.

This is all part of the con. It's as fabricated and bogus as the idea that the slides are an alien from outer space. It's designed to add another level to the us-vs-them conspiracist angle that the Dream Teamers will need to rely upon in order to make this all fly. It's obvious.

PK

Kandinsky said...

Quick draw!

I don't know the DT guys well enough to argue one way or another. However, there's a long lineage of conspiracy claimants who have used the 'hacked' scenario to accrue some sense of mystery and importance.

It's typically used as a 'dog ate homework' excuse when the 'evidence' has vanished. Poor old Hoagland has been hacked by NASA time and again.

In this case, the images remain. Yep, odds are high that someone close to AB was the antagonist.

Hushmail, safemail and proxies are the easiest way to conceal identities. If they guarded their IP, they'll never be identified. Not because it's impossible, but because people in law enforcement aren't going to send out subpoenas for juvenile misdeeds.

Loki said...

PK-

First Adam Dew is filming a documentary on SlideFest2015.

Now this Brit is filming:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1429561667/cosmic-whistleblowers/posts

Now, since you are a real filmmaker and long experienced in the subject and its personalities, I think you might consider doing your documentary version of the slide affair to counteract the other two Schmitt/Carey puff pieces.

Paul Kimball said...

Hi Loki,

First, props to the god of mischief, patron saint of the Roswell hucksters. ;-)

I would never say never to anything, but I haven't done a UFO-related doc since 2007, and I have no desire to do one now. I just finished two feature films, I have two more in development and another headed into production in June, and I've got a bunch of other stuff going on. The last thing I want to do is anything involved with the Roswell loons, other than mock them from the sidelines when I have the spare time, and poke holes in their stories when they go beyond the boundaries of "funny" to "crooked".

All hail Asgard!

Pauldur

BoyintheMachine said...

Paul,

Do you think Adam or one of his people were behind the "hacking", as in playing the dream team to get publicity?

Paul Kimball said...

They would be prime suspects, yes. Honestly, if I was putting this all together and wanted to create the strongest conspiracy-paranoid narrative to appeal to the core target audience and maximize profits, it's exactly what I would do, and if I was part of the "team" it would be relatively easy to do even without the knowledge of some or all of the other members.

Paul

BoyintheMachine said...

Hey Paul,

I just listened to Nick talk about his "hacking" and I don't think it was hacking at all. Does Nick know about CC (carbon copy) an BC (blind carbon copy)? It seems that whoever was emailing Nick was also BC-ing another person. If that's the case then that that other persons email would have been invisible to Nick, making Nick think he was the only recipent. If that other person were to email Nick he might interpret it as if that person has somehow hacked his email.

Paul Kimball said...

An interesting point, Jason. I'm sure Nick is familiar with BCCing in general, but perhaps he didn't consider it in this case. But you should probably pose that question to him directly.

Kandinsky said...

BCC sounds plausible.

They'd still require access to someone's email account to add themselves into the discussion.

If so, this would take us back to the idea of a weak p/w or possibly an 'insider' utilising a sock to generate mystique for PR reasons.

Kandinsky said...

I just signed up for a safemail account and sent an email to my legit account.

The 'header' data from the safemail email identified the general area of the UK from where it was sent.

If Nick retains the emails, he might be able to get a location.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Guess who's also claiming to have been hacked?

Yep, Maussan. In this video he says that on Feb 1st his channel page tercermilenio.tv suffered 2 cybernetic attacks, right when he was about to announce the Be-Witness event at the National Auditorium.

http://youtu.be/7sTMBsDjvtM

BTW I tweeted him to let him know that not only one of the slides is already avaiblable online, but also that some people say it's a 'mummy of Guanajuato.' His response to me: "Ridiculous." ;)

Paul Kimball said...

Thanks RPJ! Good to know we have someone "in country" on the case!!

Kandinsky said...

Someone needs to raise their game; hacking is clich├ęd.

Disappear for five days and appear in a call box with dirt on their face and a few days of stubble.

"I was held by two strange, oriental-looking men who warned me of 'consequences' if the slides are aired on syndicated TV. They were wearing black.

I beg you all NOT to watch the show which will be broadcast live from the 10,000-seat National Auditorium, Mexico City, on May 5th. Viewing times are subject to change and the views of the sponsors don't imply support for the content.

#donotwatchRoswellMexicoCity5thMay"

Nick Redfern said...

Boy:

Yes, of course I know what CC'ing and Bcc'ing mean! Here's what happened: I would send an email to Tony B and Rich R, discussing the slides. I would send it to myself, to have on file in my Inbox, and I would CC them on it. Sometimes, in just a few minutes at most, the hacker, "A Glass Darkly" would reply, to me, with RR and TB in the CC section.

I'm still hopeful, based on a couple of things that there will be a formal investigation of this...

Paul Kimball said...

With the greatest respect, Nick, I think you've been played here. It happens. But there will be no formal FBI investigation - count on it.

If I'm wrong, and you're right, and a hacker with nothing to do with the DT is caught, then I owe you a pint. If I'm right, however... well, I really like Boddingtons. :-)

Paul

Nick Redfern said...

Hey Paul, it's a deal about the pint LOL. I guess we will see what happens - or maybe we won't. But right now a push is being made, so whoever the culprit is, my hope is they will be identified.

Paul Kimball said...

Just make sure you're the one doing the pushing, Nick... if my theory is correct, then leaving it to any Dream Teamer would get nowhere.

Paul Kimball said...

Here's a question for you, too, amigo... do you really think Maussan has been hacked? If not, then what does that say about all this? Suspicious, is it not, that the "hacking" continues as things ramp up to the big event in May. ;-)

Nick Redfern said...

Oh, I am. Every single article/blog-post on the slides/hacking has been printed, as has every single comment section that mentions the slides and hacking. And a covering letter is being prepared, pointing out that even though the UFO subject is a controversial one, the issue here is not UFOs or even the slides. It's about a crime. If I was hacked, I view it no different than someone breaking into my apartment and stealing stuff. Put simply, I want revenge. I don't know if it will lead anywhere, but by at least trying, I may make some headway. Admittedly, I may not get anywhere. But, if I don't at least try, then definitely not.

Nick Redfern said...

Maussan is saying he has been hacked? I haven't seen that one. Let me check it out and get back. I've been on the road a lot the last 2 weeks and may have missed some posts.

Paul Kimball said...

I agree, Nick, that if you really were hacked then revenge is in the cards. I back you on that 100%. I hope you feel the same way if you discover it was really a Dream Teamer or an associate who did it.

On the Maussan front, see RPJ's note above, and then scroll a bit further up to Terry's comment on why if something like that were to happen, it is indicative that this is all part of a viral marketing campaign (my general thesis).

Nick Redfern said...

Cool, I'll check RPJs.

Yeah, my goal is this: if there is a hacker, then I will do my utmost to find them (or have them found), no matter who that person is/people are.