More Cyberterrorism today?


The news today is deeply disturbing regarding United Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) having major computer system shutdowns due to “technical glitches.”

Coincidence or cyberterrorism? This matches patterns of escalation from malware in our infrastructure, attacks on banks, hacks on companies like Anthem Blue Cross, our government under siege with the theft of records. It only makes sense that the hacks continue to reach new levels in their attempts at theft and undermining the American economy.

First thing this morning United Airlines reported that their systems were hung, taking almost two hours to recover. This “glitch” affected over 3,500 flights and hundreds of thousands of travelers throughout the air travel system

Then the NYSE halted all trading at 11:32am EDT as a major technical issue crashed the trading systems. The highly redundant and scalable systems implemented for trading don’t just crash from a glitch.

These both have the hallmarks of attacks, probing for weaknesses, resulting in tests to determine the capability to damage systems and our economy.

World War III might not be found with weapons in the sense that you know them. It is very possible a war could happen with just electrons, destroying our way of life.

I get more into CyberSecurity in chapter nine of my new book Liars & Whores: How Big Government and Big Business Are Working to Save Their Own Assets, Not Yours

UPDATE 11:16am PDT 7/8/2015 – The Los Angeles Times is reporting that NYSE officials are claiming there was no attack, “internal technical issue.” While entirely possible, it is actually more plausible that the highly redundant, highly available systems that they use were actually shutdown the moment a breach was monitored and the shutdown was a precautionary measure to isolate the incident before it could cause any major damage or theft. The hardware and software architecture used in the NYSE trading systems have multiple redundancies built-in, so an internal technical issue is nearly impossible.

Interviews with Flemming Rose on Free Speech and Dr Kit Yarrow on Shopping

When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in 2005, Denmark found itself at the center of a global battle about the freedom of speech. The paper’s culture editor, Flemming Rose, defended the decision to print the 12 drawings, and he quickly came to play a central part in the debate about the limitations to freedom of speech in the 21st century. In his new book, The Tyranny of Silence, Mr. Rose writes about the people and experiences that have influenced the way he views the world and his understanding of the crisis, including meetings with dissidents from the former Soviet Union and former Muslims living in Europe. He provides a personal account of an event that has shaped the debate about what it means to be a citizen in a democracy maintaining free speech and how to coexist in a world that is increasingly multicultural, multireligious, and multiethnic.

Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., is an award-winning consumer psychologist, a professor, author, consultant and speaker. Her home base is Golden Gate University, where she is a jointly appointed professor of both psychology and marketing. As part of her ongoing research on the psychology of consumers, Dr. Yarrow conducts interviews and ethnographies on a regular basis. She shares her findings and analysis in her books, Decoding the New Consumer Mind (Wiley, 2014) and Gen BuY (Wiley, 2009) which Ethan discusses with her in this interview.

Shellshock as Bad as Heartbleed Bug

My current generation iMac with the latest OSX 10.9.5 shows the Shellshock bug
My current generation iMac with the latest OSX 10.9.5 shows the Shellshock bug

Just when you thought computer security couldn’t get any worse, it did. Much worse.

Remember the Heartbleed bug a few months ago? This new “Shellshock” bug is at least as widespread and, in many ways, even worse.

Web servers are responsible for presenting the information you see and read when browsing the Internet. Your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) is responsible for displaying the information retrieved from a web server.

The majority of web servers on the Internet run a variant of the UNIX operating system, including Linux. According to W3Techs Web Technology Surveys, 66.9% of all web servers are running a UNIX operating system variant, which includes the Apple OSX operating system,

This Shellshock vulnerability is specific to what is called the bash shell on these UNIX systems. Think of the bash shell as a command line interface for doing things without a mouse and graphics.

That alone is bad enough, but what makes this so particularly troubling is the Apache HTTP (web) server is what is used on these systems for serving up your cat videos and memes and it uses the bash shell for processing certain commands.

That means that nearly 2/3 of all web servers are vulnerable to a hacker maliciously embedding code or taking over a web server. With that, the malicious hacker could load a virus, worm, or trojan on YOUR computer when you visit an affected website.


Let me make this worse for you. Not only could bad guys exploit this to infect you, they could exploit this to take over corporate networks, and possibly even your smartphone. That’s right your smartphone.

Suddenly the Target and Home Depot hacks appear to be small-time operations.

And like the Target and Home Depot hacks, you are almost helpless. If you are a network or web administrator, immediately patch all of your systems. Right now.

If you aren’t a tech administrator, follow all of my basic rules on how to protect yourself from my article HERE

And if you want a little more detail reading on the Shellshock bug, take a look at U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Awareness System report HERE

Big Brother Political Advertising With Your Music


Enjoying your music selections on Pandora? According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, get ready for targeted political ads based on your listening choices.

From the article “Pandora Knows if You Are a Republican”: “The company matches election results with subscribers’ musical preferences by ZIP Code. Then, it labels individual users based on their musical tastes and whether those artists are more frequently listened to in Democratic or Republican areas. Users don’t divulge their political affiliations when they sign up for Pandora.

“Targeting users is basically the currency in data right now,” says Jack Krawczyk, Pandora’s director of product management.

In summary, if you use the Pandora app, they track what you listen to and use that information for advertising revenue. The new twist is the angle of political advertising.

As if you needed another reason to be concerned about your privacy, after the NSA, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Skype, Microsoft, etc revelations!

Time for a switch back to good old purchased music playlists on your mp3 playing device or terrestrial music radio. Maybe you’ll even find some new bands out there like White Denim and get hooked on great new music being made every day while avoiding the prying technological eyes of companies who spy on you for profit!

Ethan with Steve and Austin of White Denim
Ethan with Steve and Austin of White Denim

Keep Up With Tech Talk On KBYR With Ethan Bearman



Don’t forget to keep up with Ethan’s twice monthly segment on KBYR AM 700 in Anchorage, Alaska, discussing the latest in technology topics with host Glen Biegel. You can tune in live every first and third Monday of the month, AM 700 in Anchorage or online at the KBYR website. Plus, every conversation is posted on the Podcast site HERE

Another Example of Government Planning

Covered California FAIL
Covered California FAIL (10/1/2013 8:45 am PDT)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, has rolled out the health exchanges officially today. But the websites aren’t working. My confidence in government isn’t high to begin with, but this poor planning and execution is miserable and reflects poorly regardless of your thoughts on PPACA.

If the websites aren’t working, how are the millions of uninsured supposed to signup for subsidized health insurance? Performance planning in technology is widespread in the private sector. The state and federal governments ( is experiencing outages this morning as well) are apparently not aware of these best practices while rushing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on websites.

Does this change your view regarding the success of ObamaCare?

Announcing The KBYR IT Update With Ethan Bearman


Ethan Bearman

I am pleased and honored to announce the newest feature on the KBYR Morning News & Comment with Glen Biegel on AM 700 KBYR in Anchorage, Alaska, the KBYR IT Update With Ethan Bearman!

Glen and I have spoken numerous times over the past six months on his shows and his team at KBYR, special thanks to producer Michael Ortega, and I have agreed to make our conversations a regular part of the show.

Check out the first update from this morning’s show and keep up with Glen at KBYR from 6 to 9 am Alaska time on AM 700 and at

Glen Biegel KBYR AM 700