Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News Weekly Photography Challenge – Cats -Hexbyte Glen Cove News

Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News Weekly Photography Challenge – Cats -Hexbyte Glen Cove News

Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News

A Post By: Caz Nowaczyk

This week’s photography challenge topic is CATS!

Go out and capture your little feline friends doing those awesome things they do – like climbing, sleeping, scratching your stuff and giving cheek. They can be color, black and white, moody or bright. You get the picture! Have fun, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Check out some of the articles below that give you tips on this week’s challenge.

Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News Tips for Shooting CATS

Tips for Great Lighting for Pet Photography

6 Tips for Working with Unruly Animals in Pet Photography

Five Tips for Creative Pet Photography

8 Tips for Better Pet Photography

Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News Weekly Photography Challenge – CATS

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge.

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

If you tag your photos on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter or other sites – tag them as #DPScats to help others find them. Linking back to this page might also help others know what you’re doing so that they can share in the fun.

Hexbyte - Glen Cove - News Weekly Photography Challenge – Cats

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Hexbyte - Glen Cove - News

Caz Nowaczyk
– the dPS Managing Editor, lives in Wollongong, Australia and has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, and designer in her business, Exposure Arts and Media, for 15 years. Her background extends to Digital Content Management, and Editorial Design. In her spare time, she composes music as Dreamgirl and the Motorist. Since the age of 12, she knew she would be a photographer – the other stuff came as a surprise!

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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired What Is Application Shielding?

Hexbyte Tech News Wired What Is Application Shielding?

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

As hackers become increasingly adept at targeting smartphones, app security has become a pressing issue. Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in mobile software to spy on users, grab their data, or even steal their money. In response, security companies are increasingly touting a feature called “application shielding,” a process that obfuscates an application’s binary code, ostensibly making it harder for hackers to reverse-engineer.

Application shielding is mainly used to protect intellectual property and cut down on piracy; the techniques modify a service’s application code, making it more difficult for someone to tamper with it, or to figure out how to remove digital rights locks and steal media like music or movie files.

Over the past few years, though, the term has evolved to encapsulate other features as well. Sometimes called “binary protection,” shielding can run integrity and validity checks to ensure that an app is running in a safe, untainted environment. It can also include biometric authentication checks to make it more difficult for hackers to analyze an application’s binary to look for ways of attacking it.

While many of these mechanisms do help strengthen app defenses, security engineers note that mobile application shielding is still evolving as a concept. And they suggest that some of its purported benefits, like claiming to deter hackers by occluding an app’s binary code, may be overstated.

Lily Hay Newman is a WIRED staff writer focused on information security, digital privacy, and hacking.

“I suspect many of these mobile shielding techniques will evolve into either standard development libraries or just standard coding practice, and may see an uptick in adoption more quickly among financial enterprises and other high-value environments,” says Kenn White, director of the Open Crypto Audit Project. “But other tactics, like obfuscation, are of more dubious value. An attacker should be able to know everything there is to know about your system without it giving them an advantage.”

Think of shielding code like hiding a safe behind a painting. If you have a secure enough lock, it shouldn’t matter who can see it.

Still, application shielding—and the lack thereof—has garnered attention of late. One study released at the beginning of April (and commissioned by Arxan, an application security company that sells mobile shielding tools) assessed the security of 30 financial services apps for Android downloaded from the Google Play Store. It found numerous basic security issues in the vast majority of the apps including weak encryption, features that leaked data, and architecture issues where apps stored user data in insecure locations.

Alissa Knight, a senior cybersecurity analyst for the advisory firm Aite Group who conducted the research, told WIRED at the end of March that she considered the lack of shielding to be surprisingly careless. Without it, Knight was able to pull out things like private authentication certificates and keys to the directories an app uses to access data. And Knight says that the most important weakness she found in 29 out of the 30 apps tested was lack of binary obfuscation.

“Looking at banks, retail banking, stock brokerage firms, one of the things that I came across and found was that they’re not obfuscating their code,” Knight said. “If you’re putting a mobile app out there there’s so much in there that you would expect pretty much everyone to obfuscate whether they’re a bank or a game. I knew that there was a problem, I didn’t know it was this bad.”

In general, mobile security researchers agree that carelessness and lack of investment often lead to security missteps that developers could—and should—avoid. But many also note that attackers can get around obfuscation if they’re motivated to. “Obfuscation in general is just a speed bump,” the Open Crypto Audit Project’s White says. “By no means does it stop a skilled practitioner.”

One reason “shielding” is such an amorphous term is that it can also be used in other cybersecurity contexts. For example, customers can use shielding as part of their protections on data and applications they store outside of their own servers in third-party cloud environments. This way they can get the flexibility and reach of a cloud service while still defending their turf against unauthorized access. But where shielding is more established as a protection in untrusted cloud environments, it is still evolving as a defense for mobile applications.

“Application shielding, particularly obfuscation, is a layer of digital rights management which a company may want to add to their apps in order to satisfy licensing or regulatory requirements. It is genuinely useful for that purpose and I would recommend the technology to a company creating something like a video streaming service,” says Will Strafach, an iOS security researcher and the president of Sudo Security Group. “But in something like financial apps the choice to not obfuscate their code is not a problem, because it does not add security and can be defeated without much difficulty.”

“By no means does it stop a skilled practitioner.”

Kenn White, Open Crypto Audit Project

Strafach says that part of the reason he is skeptical about binary obfuscation is that it could simply be used to allow app developers to mask components of what their app does—a tactic malware authors already use to sneak malicious apps past app store screening by Apple and Google. And Strafach notes another issue he and his research group have begun to see in their own application security analysis.

“Obfuscation may lead a developer to believe that they can safely leave sensitive content embedded in an app, thinking outsiders could not see it due to the app shielding,” Strafach says. “We have noticed quite a few cases of this in apps.” Think again of the hidden safe. Putting that painting in front doesn’t mean you can leave it unlocked.

When application shielding is used as a sort of suite of best practices to authenticate a user, check the integrity of an operating system, promote cryptographic checks like transaction signing, or confirm device identity it contributes to much-needed mobile defenses. But as the fledgling toolset evolves, it’s important to remember that like anything else, it’s not a security panacea.

“Though we often think of mobile applications as code that runs on our Android or iOS smartphones, that’s only part of the picture,” says Adrian Sanabria, an independent security researcher. “Most mobile apps are more like websites that run partially on our phone and partially in the cloud. Application shielding may make it tougher to hack the parts of apps that run on our phones, but app developers still have to consider protecting the parts of the application that don’t live on the phone.”


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Putin Will Put Russia Behind an Internet Curtain

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Putin Will Put Russia Behind an Internet Curtain

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Mikhail Tereshchenko/Getty Images

The week began with dragon’s breath. After a major breach in its firewall, a scrappy security team in the north engaged in an epic battle to rid its system of an infected payload that kept growing bigger and bigger, spewing frozen ice flames across all critical infrastructure. Yes, I’m talking about Game of Thrones, folks, and yes, we asked an officer in the Army National Guard to do a tactical analysis of the battle of Winterfell, and yes, it’s wonderful and you should read it.

In the real world, a mysterious hacker groups is on a supply chain hijacking spree. Though hacktivism is on the rise, the days of Anonymous-like groups making a real difference are over. The US Air Force has decided to embed airmen at Carnegie Mellon University as part of its new Science and Technology Strategy. And security researchers all agree that Right to Repair is as much a security issue as a matter of personal freedom.

The week ended with president Donald Trump on the phone with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and according to Trump the two friends discussed a lot, including the Mueller Report, which they both agreed contained no evidence of collusion. Mueller expert Garrett Graff reminded the world this week that even if the Mueller probe is over, Trump and his team are still being actively investigated in at least 16 different criminal probes.

Of course, that’s not all. Each week we round up the news that we didn’t break or cover in depth, but that you should know about. As always, click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

Putin Signs Law to Disconnect Russia from the Internet

Speaking of Putin, the Russian president did more this week than just gab with Trump. He also signed a controversial law that will allow Russia’s internet censor and regulator to much more easily block websites and content that violate Russia’s strict internet rules, and will enable Russia to fully disconnect its internet service from the rest of the world. Putin signed the so-called “Runet” law on Wednesday, requiring Russia to build its own Domain Name System, separate from the rest of the world’s. Russia says it wants to protect its internet in the event that a hostile foreign agent attempts tot ake it down. But security experts say that’s never happened to any nation state, and that the much more likely reason is for Russia in order to exert more control. Currently, websites and services like Telegram and Zello are able to continue operating in the country despite being banned, by using a few different elusive methods, like ISP hopping and VPNs outside the country. Once all traffic is gated within the country, those techniques will likely no longer work.

Hackers Ransom Financial Data From Some of World’s Biggest Firms

Motherboard reports that hackers breached Citycomp, a German internet infrastructure provider for some of the world’s biggest corporations, stealing financial data and then attempting to extort the companies to get it back. Airbus, Oracle, and Volkswagen are a just few of the companies who rely on Citcomp for things like servers and storage, and whose data was allegedly stolen. Motherboard reports that the hackers also set up a public website on which it published some of the data, apparently as proof of the theft. The hackers claim to have more than 512GB of private and financial information for Citycomp’s clients. Citycomp publicly acknowledged that it had been hacked and was being blackmailed, and announced it was working with authorities to resolve the situation.

To Counter Vulnerabilities, LA County Built Its Own Voting Machines

We’ve told you, over and over and over, about how vulnerable the nation’s voting infrastructure is. Machines are old, unprotected, and just plain broken. Despite voting machines being officially listed as a critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security, voting systems across the US are still insecure and often lack paper backups to make enable auditing votes when this go awry. So LA County, which has 5.2 million registered voters, took matters into its own hands, developing its own voting machines and and a whole new voting process in time for the 2020 presidential primary next year. Voter security experts laud the design, which was the result of open-source collaboration and cost $100 million. The new machines combine a paper ballot with a screen interface, automatically creating a paper backup and allowing voters to fill out the entire ballot by hand if they prefer. In addition to the new machines, the county is redefining voting day, spreading it over 11 days rather than a single one, which officials hope will allow them to get more votes cast on fewer machines than if everyone were voting on one day.


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Hexbyte  News  Computers People’s Sense Of Control Over Their Actions Is Reduced At A Fundamental Level When They’re Angry Or Afraid

Hexbyte News Computers People’s Sense Of Control Over Their Actions Is Reduced At A Fundamental Level When They’re Angry Or Afraid

Hexbyte News Computers

Hexbyte  News  Computers GettyImages-528281522.jpg
The findings lend some scientific legitimacy to the “I just lost it” defence

By Matthew Warren

During major bouts of anger or fear, people can end up taking extreme and sometimes violent actions. But they often say that, in the moment, they didn’t feel responsible for those actions – they “lost control” or “saw red”. In the UK, under certain circumstances, a person accused of murder can even claim that this “loss of control” led to them killing their victim. If successful, this defence can reduce charges to manslaughter.

Now the first study of its kind suggests that there is some truth to these claims. Participants put into a fearful or angry state really do seem to have a reduced sense of agency, according to a paper published recently in Experimental Brain Research, raising questions about the accountability of people going through extreme emotions.

Julia Christensen and colleagues at University College London assessed participants’ sense of agency while they were in different emotional states. To do this, they used a measure of a perceptual distortion known as “intentional binding”. Intentional binding refers to the fact that we perceive our deliberate physical actions as occurring closer in time to their sensory consequences than was really the case. 

In the standard task demonstrating this effect, participants press a button while watching a clock hand which is constantly rotating. They have to say what time was indicated by the clock hand when they pressed the button. On some trials, pressing the button triggers a noise a fraction of a second later, while on other trials pressing the button doesn’t have any consequence. For the trials in which there is a noise, intentional binding means that people tend to say that they pressed the button later than they really did (and later than in the silent trials), closer in time to the noise. Crucially for current purposes, intentional binding only occurs for deliberate, voluntary actions, and in fact a larger intentional binding effect is usually taken by researchers as evidence that a participant feels more in control of her or his actions.

The new study used this standard intentional binding task – but with a twist. During the task, the researchers also induced feelings of fear or anger in their participants. For the fear condition, participants saw the word “Threat!” on screen during some trials, which signalled that they might receive a painful electric shock. 

In the anger condition, participants sometimes performed an additional task where they had to respond to a sound by pressing a button as quickly as possible in order to avoid losing money. To enrage the participants, the researchers made this task impossible to win: the participants were always told they were too slow and received the financial penalty. 

Across three experiments – two that induced fear and one anger – the researchers found that participants had reduced intentional binding when they were in an emotional state. That is, for the fear and anger trials, participants’ perception of when they pressed the button shifted less towards the timing of the noise compared to neutral trials. 

These results suggest that the participants had a reduced sense of agency over their button-pressing when they felt fear and anger. This provides some of the first evidence that going through extreme negative emotions can in fact make people feel less in control, as has often been assumed. And the fact that this effect was found using an implicit measure of agency, rather than by simply asking participants whether they felt in control, suggests that it may be happening at a fairly fundamental level.

But there are limitations to the study: most noticeably that there was no condition in which the researchers induced a positive emotion like happiness. It could be that strong emotional states generally reduce people’s sense of agency, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. And one of the two fear experiments did not actually produce a significant result but was only reported as a trend, so it remains to be seen whether the results will be replicated in another sample. 

While the research provides some scientific rationale for the “loss of control” defence, there are still much broader ethical and legal questions. Even if extreme negative emotional states do leave people with a reduced sense of control over their actions, for example, that doesn’t necessarily imply that they should be absolved of any sins they commit. “The fact that sense of agency is reduced by negative emotional states does not demonstrate total lack of responsibility, nor condone any specific action,” the authors write. “Feeling less responsible does not necessarily make one actually less responsible.”

I just lost it! Fear and anger reduce the sense of agency: a study using intentional binding

Matthew Warren (@MattbWarren) is Staff Writer at BPS Research Digest

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Hexbyte  News  Computers What The Hell Is Going On With UFOs And The Department Of Defense?

Hexbyte News Computers What The Hell Is Going On With UFOs And The Department Of Defense?

Hexbyte News Computers

Hexbyte News Computers Someone or something appears to have some extremely advanced technology and the Pentagon is actively changing the nature of the conversation about it.

Hexbyte  News  Computers

USN

Few stories have garnered more requests from our readers for commentary than the recent news that the Navy has decided to very publicly change its reporting rules and procedures for when its personnel observes an unexplained phenomenon like a UFO and a USO. There have been wildly varying takes on this sudden change, but the truth is that it is very hard to know what to make of it considering how absurd it sounds—the Navy now wants to know about unidentified craft that can penetrate airspace over its installations and around its most capable naval vessels with impunity? Shouldn’t that be a default position for a service tasked with defending American interests and controlling vast swathes of area above, below, and on the surface of the Earth? 

Politico was first to report on the Navy’s new directions for reporting unexplained objects operating in the same environment as its vessels and aircraft. Politico’s Bryan Bender writes:

“There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years,” the Navy said in a statement in response to questions from POLITICO. “For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.”

“As part of this effort,” it added, “the Navy is updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft.”

To be clear, the Navy isn’t endorsing the idea that its sailors have encountered alien spacecraft. But it is acknowledging there have been enough strange aerial sightings by credible and highly trained military personnel that they need to be recorded in the official record and studied — rather than dismissed as some kooky phenomena from the realm of science-fiction.

The Washington Post did their own follow-up to Politico’s story, stating:

Recently, unidentified aircraft have entered military-designated airspace as often as multiple times per month, Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for office of the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told The Washington Post on Wednesday.

Citing safety and security concerns, Gradisher vowed to “investigate each and every report.”

He said, “We want to get to the bottom of this. We need to determine who’s doing it, where it’s coming from and what their intent is. We need to try to find ways to prevent it from happening again.”

In recent years, from what we can tell, in part by the reporting done by The War Zone itself, is that there is no real way to distinctly classify something like a UFO or USO in such a way that it gets reported and an investigation occurs on an official level within the military. This appears to be true for civilian government institutions, like the FAA, as well. The lack of a structured procedure and classification system, and the nebulous fear of being stigmatized by reporting things like UFOs—something that has long plagued the military and private sectors alike—has repressed the conveyance of information in unquantifiable, but hugely significant ways. 

This reality has led to much speculation, and rightfully so, that the military knows far more about these strange happenings than they are willing to let on, at least on the surface. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they want to know more about intruders wielding fantastic technology that makes them impervious to existing countermeasures and defenses?  

Now all this appears to be changing on a grand level, but why?

Hexbyte News Computers The technology is real

The fact is that we actually know that in the last 15 years, under at least some circumstances, the military has wanted certain high-fidelity data related to encounters with what many would call UFOs. The most compelling encounter of our time, at least that we know of, occurred in and around where the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group was operating during workups to deployment in 2004. 

The incident, or really the series of incidents as they occurred over a number of days, have become near legendary in nature as the witnesses involved are highly credible in nature and numerous. In addition, we have official reports detailing the incident that convey a very compelling story, as well as hours of testimony from those who were there—a group of sailors and naval aviators that seems to be emerging more and more out of the shadows with each passing day.

This is a very basic, but a well-produced overview of the main ‘Tic Tac’ incident. I highly recommend you read the story linked above and the report embedded in it for a much deeper understanding of the events that occurred over multiple days around the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in 2004:

When it comes to the so-called “Tic Tac” incident that involved the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group off the Baja Peninsula in 2004, conclusions that are nearly impossible not to draw from it are so reality warping that even the forward-thinking aerospace community doesn’t seem to have even begun coming to terms with them. 

The main revelation is that technology exists that is capable of performing flying maneuvers that shatter our perceptions of propulsion, flight controls, material science, and even physics. Let me underline this again for you, the Nimitz encounter with the Tic Tac proved that exotic technology that is widely thought of as the domain of science fiction actually exists. It is real. It isn’t the result of altered perception, someone’s lucid dream, a stray weather balloon, or swamp gas. Someone or something has crossed the technological Rubicon and has obtained what some would call the Holy Grail of aerospace engineering. 

This reality is very hard to process for many. There is always an out for some in the form of claiming an odd impromptu conspiracy or some hollow explanation that doesn’t pass muster beyond the first paragraph, but in the end, it happened. As uncomfortable as that fact is, it’s reality. So, we need to use this event as a lodestar going forward when it comes to evaluating and contemplating what is possible and where truth actually lies.

Here are video interviews of some of those who were there. Some are quite informal, but they give a good idea of what individuals’ unique perceptions were of the events in question:

What many may not know about this event is that it occurred in a place and time where the most powerful set of aerial surveillance sensors ever created were amassed together and were watching and recording it all. And it is the recording part that is maybe the most interesting facet of the Nimitz encounters that has largely been passed over in terms of significance and notoriety. 

Hexbyte News Computers Ideal test conditions

What most don’t realize is that the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group wasn’t just equipped with some of the most advanced sensors the world had to offer, but that it also had hands-down the most advanced networking and computer processing capability of any such system. Dubbed Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), this integrated air defense system architecture was just being fielded on a Strike Group level for the first time aboard Nimitz and the rest of its flotilla. 

Our readers are familiar with CEC and the follow-on iterations that have come since, as we talk about the concepts behind them often. At its very basic level, it uses the Strike Group’s diverse and powerful surveillance sensors, including the SPY-1 radars on Aegis Combat System-equipped cruisers and destroyers, as well as the E-2C Hawkeye’s radar picture from on high, and fuses that information into a common ‘picture’ via data-links and advanced computer processing. This, in turn, provides very high fidelity ‘tracks’ of targets thanks to telemetry from various sensors operating at different bands and looking at the same target from different aspects and at different ranges. 

Whereas a stealthy aircraft or one employing electronic warfare may start to disappear on a cruiser’s radar as it is viewing the aircraft from the surface of the Earth and from one angle, it may still be very solid on the E-2 Hawkeye’s radar that is orbiting at 25,000 feet and a hundred miles away from the cruiser. With CEC, the target will remain steady on both platform’s CEC enabled screens as they are seeing fused data from both sources and likely many others as well. 

We are talking about a quantum leap in capability and fidelity here folks. 

The data-link connectivity and the quality of the enhanced telemetry means that weapons platforms, such as ships and aircraft, could also fire on targets without needing to use their own sensor data. For instance, a cruiser could fire a missile at a low-flying aircraft that is being tracked by a Hawkeye and an F/A-18 even though it doesn’t show up on their own scopes. This capability continues to evolve and mature today and will be the linchpin of any peer-state naval battle of the future that the U.S. is involved with. But back in 2004, it was new and untested on the scale presented by the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group as it churned through the warning areas off the Baja Coast.

The key takeaway here is that if ever there was an opportune time to capture the very best real-world sensor data on a high-performance target in near lab-like controlled settings offered by the restricted airspace off the Baja Coast, this was it. And by intention or chance, this is exactly what happened. 

Hexbyte News Computers Someone within the DoD was very interested

By multiple accounts from vetted first-hand sources, the hard drives that record CEC data from the E-2C Hawkeye and Aegis-equipped ships were seized in a very mysterious fashion following the Tic Tac incident. Uniformed U.S. Air Force officers showed up on these vessels and confiscated the devices and they were never to be seen again. This is not rumor or hearsay, this is attested to by multiple uniformed witnesses that were on the vessels that made up the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group at the time. 

At the same time, on an official level, the Navy seemed to shut down any further investigation into the incident. The aforementioned after-action report states that the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group’s senior intelligence officer, whose name is redacted, alerted the Navy’s 3rd Fleet intelligence officer, or N2, about the incident via secure Email. That same Email, known as a Mission Report (MISREP), included the video footage and other details. 

For unexplained reasons, officials at the 3rd Fleet N2 declined to send this report up the chain of command. They also deleted the MISREP, but speculated that paper copy should have been available. However, there is no indication that anyone went looking for this physical copy of the MISREP during the investigation. 

Hexbyte  News  Computers

USN

Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

When interviewed, the Nimitz Strike Group’s senior intelligence officer also offered up the opinion that “he believed it [the UFO] was part of a counterdrug operation based on the area of operations,” which seems wholly incongruous with the available information.

As such, even though there is no official indication that an investigation into the events that week ever occurred at a very high level beyond after-action reports, we know someone within the military had a very high interest in what went on and wanted the high-fidelity radar data collected from the Strike Group. Not just deleted, but seized, potentially for exploitation.

So yeah, someone was highly interested in this event within the DoD. Whether that was because it was of an unexplained nature or part of a test of a very capable secret aerospace program, remains unclear. 

Hexbyte News Computers Could it be ours?

The latter possibility is also very hard for people to come to terms with—that this capability could belong to the U.S. military. There is no better place to test such a system than against the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group with its CEC abilities during its workup off the Baja Coast. It is not an operational environment. Aircraft are not armed and nobody is expecting a fight. It is high-level integrated training with crews that have sharpened skills as they prepare for a cruise in which they could very well be called upon to fight for their country. Those warning areas and range complexes that extend out and down from the Channel Islands off the SoCal coast are among the best space the U.S. military has for training and testing advanced hardware and tactics in a secure and sanitized environment. 

In other words, it was an ideal testing environment that featured the very best aerial, surface, and undersea surveillance sensors and sensor crews on the planet. 

Hexbyte  News  Computers

FAS.ORG

The expansive range complexes and warning areas off Southern California and Mexico.

In addition, the fact is that the U.S. government has poured the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars each year into the black budget for the better part of a century. The idea that somewhere along the way they got lucky and made major breakthroughs in highly exotic technologies may not be convenient to believe as a possibility for those that have grander visions for the unexplained, but I contend that it is quite plausible. In fact, it mirrors the cryptic statements made by top players in the dark areas of aerospace development, such as those of the late Ben Rich, a Lockheed’s Skunk Works chief that is largely credited for giving birth to stealth technology as we know it today. For instance, Rich told Popular Mechanics the following that underscores just how long major breakthroughs in man-made clandestine aerospace technology can stay hidden: 

“There are some new programs, and there are certain things, some of them 20 or 30 years old, that are still breakthroughs and appropriate to keep quiet about [because] other people don’t have them yet.”

Clearly, the ability to defy the limits of traditional propulsion and lift-borne flight would be the pinnacle of aerospace and electrical engineering and could be far too sensitive to disclose, at least in some people’s eyes within the national security establishment. Even the risk of testing this technology against known air defense capabilities would have to be weighed against the need for the tightest of secrecy. But since UFOs carry such a stigma and have deep pop culture roots in our society, the risk of doing so against an unknowing Carrier Strike Group operating under tight training restrictions seems small and the setting uniquely ideal.

In other words, could the Tic Tac have been ours? 

Yes. 

The same could be said of our adversaries. They too could have made some breakthroughs in highly exotic propulsion technology, but I find this less likely due to their more limited resources. But it is still possible.

Yet at the same time, we know that whoever that craft belonged to, the information the flotilla collected on it was of great importance to some entity within the DoD. And the fact that just the radar data was seized makes sense in that the extent of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group radar network could not be replicated over land during small-scale testing, or via a chance encounters with military aircraft. Electro-optical data could. The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group represented literally the sum of many parts spread out over a large area and made up of tens of billions of dollars in assets operating with the best technology available at the time. 

With all this in mind, the idea that the Navy is supposedly just now interested in what its aviators and sailors see when it comes to unexplained craft peculiar and nebulous, to say the least. One can’t help but feel there are two realities at play within America’s defense apparatus—one that sits on or very near the surface and one that resides deep below it. 

Hexbyte News Computers Information warfare

If the DoD truly has no idea of what these things are, then it seems absurd that it is just now curious about them after the better part of a century of sightings and even major encounters, including many having to do with its own installations and personnel. In fact, we know that isn’t historically the case and that there has been varying degrees of documented interest in the topic over the years, including funded studies as recently as the last decade in the form of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program—better known as AATIP—and who knows what else we don’t know about. 

But even AATIP, like the statements we are getting from the Navy today, could have been something designed to emerge into the public domain. One could posit the peculiar assembly of To The Stars Academy, a hybrid entertainment and UFO research corporation assembled by ex-Blink 182 frontman Tom DeLonge that has oddly attracted a number of impressive team members from the defense, aerospace, and intelligence community, is also a government-manufactured—or at least encouraged—information conduit of sorts, at least to some degree. Nearly all of the individuals on its impressive roster are fresh off long careers working, in one way or another, for the government and holding very high-security clearances to do so. This includes Luis Elizondo, the same guy who supposedly ran AATIP for the Defense Intelligence Agency up until its shuttering in 2012. 

Watch DeLonge on Joe Rogan for an idea of just how questionable this whole arrangement sounds:

This, folks, is where the rabbit hole of information and disinformation opens up below us. There is no way around it. With the vacuum of verifiable information that the government has created on the matter, and all the rumor and speculation, one’s truth compass begins to spin with reckless abandon as you dig into these issues. It is not only about what is real and what is not real, but it is also about what does the government want us to believe and not to believe. The truth could be the eventual goal, but getting there may include a long trail of often stale factoid crumbs that seem to lead in puzzling directions. In other words, even if the government wants the truth to come out eventually, it seems alarmingly clear they are going to do it on their own terms, and the timeline for that plan could be measured in decades, not years, or more. 

On the other hand, putting a possible goal of disclosure aside, there is also a very real reason why the Pentagon would want the idea of UFOs injected back into the public’s consciousness and even to add validity to it. Doing so is in itself a very old chapter in Uncle Sam’s information warfare playbook. During the Cold War, the government actively lied about UFOs and perpetuated UFO hysteria to cover up its secret aircraft programs. They literally spread disinformation to the public in order to create a wonderfully convenient cover for the myriad clandestine weapon systems in development or operational at the time. Now, we are once again back in an age of “great power competition,” according to the Pentagon, and billions of dollars are being pumped into new technologies that were considered exotic themselves just years ago. With this in mind, reanimating maybe the best and most broadly self-perpetuating cover story of all time for sightings of clandestine aircraft that people see in the sky seems like a highly logical and proven act.

As I have said over and over again, the sky, and the things we are accustomed to seeing inhabiting it, is going to look increasingly different in the very near term. Hypersonics, drone swarms, directed energy weapons, and a full-on emerging arms race in space are just some of the very real activities and technologies that will dominate the near future of American weapons development. The products of all of these initiatives, once manifested, could appear positively alien to curious bystanders. 

The military will be able to explain some of this, but some of it they won’t. So, reinvigorating the presence of UFOs in the American psyche by adding heaps of validity to the topic on an official level and possibly also on a less than official level (To The Stars Academy for instance) can help keep secret programs that grace the skies just that, secret. And who knows, that list of programs and technologies could include the very Tic Tac and other bizarrely shaped craft that can defy imagination with their aerial feats that have been spotted and even recorded in recent years. In fact, if the U.S. military has such a capability, the UFO cover story would be imperative to keeping the nature of its existence under wraps.

Hexbyte News Computers The game has changed

If the Pentagon really doesn’t know what these things are or where they come from, after so many years of sightings and odd encounters and its own studies and shadowy probes, then that would be an unfathomable dereliction of duty considering they are, you know, tasked with keeping America safe from the foreign harm. But really, how can we believe the idea that the military has zero opinion on the matter. It seems like a laughable proposition at best. If there is anything they would have high interest in, it would be craft capable of decimating the enemy on a whim. 

With all that being said, what does the Navy’s move to change its procedures and rules in regards to reporting UFOs mean? 

Nothing, at least not definitively. 

Is it a case of one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing? Is it just a relevant move in this new era of heightened power competition with peer state adversaries? Or is somehow part of a broader information campaign with unidentified goals? 

We can’t say for sure, but a mix of all of those things and more is certainly possible. The reality is the entire narrative, and at times the lack thereof, on UFOs from the Department of Defense, is a total mess of contradictory statements and historical facts. 

Whatever the truth is, the landscape when it comes to the U.S. government and its relation to unexplained objects in the sky and in our oceans is clearly changing. 

To what end remains just as much a mystery as the fantastic vehicles themselves.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com

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