|Home » Industry Watch » The Technological
That Super-Secret WikiLeaks Encryption Key File
And who's the mysterious media partner contact?
EVERYWHERE (Rixstep) — It's déjà vu all over again. Or check this article.
Even David Leigh picked it up.
'Don't the Times and the Telegraph check ANYTHING before running nonsense?'
How ironic it's David Leigh pointing out how shoddy the Old Media are. Because he's at the bottom of this whole new Old Media mess.
Let's go back.
Daniel Domscheit-Berg gets home from his fiasco at the CCC summer camp. He's been ousted from the respected Chaos Computer Club, his media partners are leaving him, he's slithering around on the floor of the flat of his wife and equal Anke. He comes up with a brilliant idea. Anything to create more havoc in the world.
Domscheit-Berg elicits a confidential URL from one of his former WikiLeaks colleagues. That colleague is suspected to be online at Twitter today as a result, pissed as hell at Domscheit-Berg.
Domscheit-Berg runs to Der Freitag. 'I can compromise WikiLeaks!' he bleats.
Where's the story?
That's it. That's the only source. This time as last time. Now watch the Old Media clowns go into a feeding frenzy.
'Das für die Entschlüsselung der Datei notwendige Passwort lässt sich ebenfalls über das Internet recherchieren.'
'This allows for the decryption of the password file.'
So we're going to decrypt a password file? The password's in a file? Don't those bozos even think about what they're writing?
And the story took off. Count on the Old Media.
Just go to Google News and see what's happened. See how much you can count on your trusty Old Media.
And oh they're writing eulogies already, the boobs!
'WikiLeaks 15 minutes of fame are over'
'WikiLeaks cables reveal diplomatic sources'
'WikiLeaks releases cables naming top secret sources'
'Australia condemns irresponsible WikiLeaks cable leak'
It just goes on and on. A bit like last October when 700 Eejits picked up a promiscuous story from Wired.
Here's the short list from that time around.
Telegraph, Washington Post, CBC, CNN, The Register, Economic Times, Xinhua, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Canadian Press, IBNLive, Chosum Ilbo, Talk Radio News Service, GroundReport, The Week, Daily Rosetta, AlterNet, Metro, New Delhi Chronicle, Firedoglake, Secrecy News, Press TV, Federal News Radio, Journalism.co.uk, The Drum, ComputerWeekly, NewsTime, ShortNews.com, Newsi.es, Neon Tommy, Indie Pro Pub, UPI.com, Radio New Zealand, BBC News, First Amendment Center, The Australian, Reuters, PC Magazine, Scottish Daily Record, Oneindia, CNN International, New York Times, ABC Online, CBS News, NPR, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, The Press Association, Associated Press, NEWS.com.au, USA Today, Washington Times, SmartCompany.com.au, The Hill, Gather, MyFox Philadelphia, Newser, Seer Press, Third Age, DigitalJournal.com, Malaysia Sun, Inventorspot, Only Kent, RebOrbit, Pakistan News, Antiwar.com, Mashable, AOL News, Gawker, Media Post Publications, AllVoices, Editors Weblog, Comtex Smartrend, IT Pro Portal, Democracy Now, THINQ.co.uk, TechEye, Raw Story, MSNBC.com, Jerusalem Post, PhysOrg,com, Digital Media Wire, Boing Boing, TechRadar UK.
All those media - and more - picked up on a story with no second source. And ran with it.
At least it isn't as many eejits making fools of themselves this time.
Secret Encryption Key Files?
A couple of minutes of a crash course in IT for the Old Media. Not that it will ever help of course.
- Encryption keys don't come in files, you morons.
- You don't need passwords to unlock encryption keys.
But somebody out there did a colossal boo-boo that
Gollum Daniel Domscheit-Berg could capitalise on to continue his campaign of catastrophe and destruction. Who was it and how did it happen?
Let's go back again. Even further this time. To July 2010.
It's the summer of 2010. Collateral Murder is out there. David Leigh's had a big hit with his coverage of the Trafigura story WikiLeaks handed him on a silver platter. Leigh's brother in law (who runs the Guardian and also employs his wife as a writer) has just dumped the Afghan War Diaries on the world. It's good times.
But David and brother in law Alan Rusbridger want more. And Julian Assange has made them understand there's a lot more. And not those puny Iraq War Logs either - but something really big. The mother of all leaks. Aka 'Package 3'.
Alan and David work on Julian. Please pretty please let us see them! OK, says Julian, but first you have to sign an agreement.
Alan signs it. He promises three things under his own Guardian masthead.
- The material he'll be made privy to is for review only and may not be published without the express consent of WikiLeaks.
- The material will be held on condition of strict confidence and will not be revealed to anyone outside the Guardian.
- The material will not at any time be viewed on any computer connected to the Internet.
From page 151 of David Leigh's book - watch closely now:
'After a two-hour debate, he started the process on one of his little netbooks that would enable Leigh to download the entire tranche of cables. The Guardian journalist had to set up the PGP encryption system on his laptop at home across the other side of London. Then he could feed in a password Assange wrote down on a scrap of paper.'
Leigh goes home to begin downloading Cablegate. But he runs into a snag.
'He typed in the lengthy password and was gratified to be able to download a huge file from Assange's temporary website. Then he realised it was zipped up - compressed using a format called 7z which he had never heard of and couldn't understand. He got back in his car and drove through the deserted London streets in the small hours to Assange's headquarters in Southwick Mews. Assange smiled a little pityingly and unzipped it for him.'
'Pityingly' was, under the circumstances, rather merciful. Leigh knew he was looking for a specific compression format (7-zip) but obviously lacked the cerebral wherewithal to use Google to find it.
7-zip is available for all common operating systems, so this shouldn't have been a problem for anyone who wasn't an intellectual vegetable. But what did Leigh do?
'He got back in his car and drove through the deserted London streets in the small hours to Assange's headquarters in Southwick Mews.'
(He got back in his car to drive to Daddy Julian to have him unzip it for him. Thank goodness his fly didn't get stuck too.)
This has been noticed before with David Leigh. There's an embarrassing clip online with him and Amy Goodman where his computer's screeching feedback at her and he can't understand what's wrong, despite Goodman tutoring him like a baby.
But that's fairly innocent - that's just David Leigh not being able to match the 'news bunnies' he's so come to hate.
What's really bad - what's made his epithet 'reprehensible' stick - is how he's double-dealt with WikiLeaks for the past year.
- You might be inclined to think Leigh was supportive of WikiLeaks through the release of Cablegate. You'd be wrong.
- Leigh got a second copy of Cablegate from US indie journalist Heather Brooke who used it to barter for a position at the Guardian.
- Leigh turned immediately to his buds at the New York Times and suggested they both preempt WikiLeaks and the media partners by going first.
- Leigh tried to convince his 'bro in law' that this was OK despite the agreement 'bro in law' had signed because this was a different copy. Oh yeah.
- This of course brought in Mark Stephens, there was a right scandal, Leigh got pissed and turned on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
- But Leigh now teamed up with disgraced colleague Luke Harding to write the book 'The Rise and Fall of WikiLeaks' in three weeks.
- They were made to change the title but one thing they didn't change was on page 151*.
Was it pure evil? Could anyone of David Leigh's caliber be so stupid? What was Luke Harding thinking when he read it?
David Leigh published the actual encryption key in his book.
The encryption key wasn't online until the book made it there in PDF form. Then all Daniel Domscheit-Berg had to do was a bit of blagging, get the URL of one of the WL mirrors in question, test the password out, then run crosstown to Der Freitag and tell them what he could do. And how, thanks to him, WikiLeaks wasn't 'safe'.
*Note: Page 151 in the PDF version corresponds to page 139 in the printed version.
There has been no leak at WikiLeaks. The issue relates to a mainstream media partner and a malicious individual.
- WikiLeaks Twitter feed
Pastebin.com: Cablegate Encryption