Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 10th 2013 Contents A24
Saturday, August 10, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Zimbabwe s Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) has filed a legal challenge to Robert Mugabe s
victory in last week s presidential elections.
The electoral petition seeks an order for the result
to be declared null and void and a new election to
be called within 60 days.
MDC s 15 grounds include alleged bribery, abuse
of "assisted voting" and manipulation of the electoral
Mr Mugabe, 89, won with 61 per cent of the pres-
His Zanu-PF party gained a parliamentary majority
of more than two-thirds, with 160 seats compared
to 49 for the MDC.
The MDC is to file a complaint on the parliamentary
results at a later date, reports the BBC s Brian Hungwe
in the capital, Harare.
Lawyers for the MDC, which filed its petition with
the country s supreme court, told the BBC they had
"strong evidence of electoral irregularities".
They said a shockingly high number of people
were unable to vote at the polls, and that food was
distributed to Mugabe s supporters against electoral
regulations, our correspondent said.
The challenge comes after Zimbabwe s electoral
commission said nearly 305,000 voters had been
turned away from polling stations on election day.
Mugabe s margin of victory was some 940,000
A week after the election, Mugabe dismissed crit-
icism of the polls and lashed out at Western countries
for their criticism of the vote.
Zimbabwe s constitutional court has up to 14 days
to respond to the challenge.
Last Thursday, there was an important cau-
tionary tale about trust and paranoia in an age
of sweeping Internet surveillance programmes.
It began when New York--based journalist
Michele Catalano published a post on her page
at the Web site Medium, which went viral within
hours, was republished at the Guardian s Web
site, and was reported on by Reuters and a host
of other outlets.
In the 1,200-word post, Catalano detailed how
six agents from a counter terrorism unit had turned
up in black SUVs at her family home earlier this
week. The agents, she wrote, had apparently been
monitoring her family s Internet browsing and
found something suspicious about a combination
of Google searches for pressure cookers and back-
But some things didn t seem to stack up. First
of all, the NSA programme that involved mass
mining metadata from domestic US Internet net-
works was brought to an end in 2011. And many
Google searches are now encrypted over an HTTPS
connection, making it difficult for agencies to
obtain information about search histories without
first sending an order to Google that targets specific
accounts. Google has said that "no government
has the ability to pull data directly from our servers
or network," contradicting a report last month
that an NSA programme called PRISM enabled
spies to gain "direct access" to the company s
computers systems to mine data.
So how did Catalano s searches get flagged,
then? It turns out that the cops were tipped off
the old-fashioned way---by the former employer
of Catalano s husband, who saw that he had made
searches about pressure cooker bombs and back-
packs on a work computer, freaked out, and went
to the police. Suffolk County Police Department
issued a statement late Thursday confirming the
details, and Catalano has since issued a clarification
to her post.
Brian Krebs a living, breathing
experiment---a vehicle through
which the characters of the Internet
underworld demonstrate what sort
of mayhem they can cause in real
In March, armed police officers
descended on Krebs home. The
reporter was busy tidying up when
about a dozen cops fixed their assault
rifles and other weapons on his front
door. Turns out, Krebs had done
nothing wrong other than pique the
interest of some hacker types who
had tricked the police into thinking
a 911 call had come from the house.
Earlier this week the fun continued
when about $150 worth of heroin
appeared in Krebs s mailbox. Again,
an Internet hooligan had been at
play, ordering the drugs off the Silk
Road black market. Krebs had been
spying on the Silk Road and various
message boards and caught wind of
the plot ahead of time, which let him
call the cops and apprise them of
Today, I caught up with Krebs for
a brief interview about what it s like
to have people constantly messing
with his life.
What exactly does that initial
conversation with the FBI or
police sound like?
It sounds like you might expect,
awkward at first but then
understanding and awareness,
which is great: The more the local
police are aware of the nutty scams
going on in cyberspace, the quicker
they may be to understand when
these matters spill over into the
physical world, as they so often do.
Are the local cops getting used
to dealing with your crazy life by
I hope not "used to" me at all,
although I am slowly getting to
know more of the local police force
by name, which from my
perspective can only be a plus. The
second cop that came out to take
my report and collect what I
assume was heroin just shook his
head and said he, too, was
interested to learn if the material
was in fact heroin. When I bid him
thanks and to be safe, he laughed
and said, "I was gonna say the
same to you. I'm not the one with
Russian hackers sending him love
letters like this one."
Why are people doing this to
Who knows? Because they can?
That's probably why. People
underestimate the amount of
mischief and headache you can
create for another person using
nothing more than a computer.
Some people like to believe there is
this hard line or demarcation
between where the interwebs end
and the real world begins, but in
truth that line never really was very
bright and it's fading more each
day. By the way, this holds true, I
believe, for both those who might
be the victims of cybercrime or
online mischief and for those who
are the perpetrators of these
Do you mostly make money
from ads on your site?
Yes, and public speaking.
Occasionally, I get hired to do some
research, but mostly I rely on my
readers for continued support and
There are lots of security
reporters out there---a number of
them quite good. Yet you seem to
be the only one being attacked at
this level. Why is that?
Probably because there aren't a
lot of other journalists who are
spending significant amounts of
time in the underground forums,
trying to learn about and shine a
light on the new criminal services
that are every day lowering the
barriers to entry for new, would-be
cybercrooks. It's interesting
because while some purveyors of
these services look at a journalist
covering his business as free
advertising, others do not
appreciate it one bit.
It's mostly the latter camp that
has lashed out, I think. In the case
of this guy Flycracker, I can't say for
sure why he has latched onto me.
He's had a bead on me for several
months. Just check out his Twitter
handle and view some of his
previous tweets, his avatars past
and present, and the images he's
posted and you'll get a sense of
what I mean. Who knows? Perhaps
Fly felt left out of all the attention.
It wouldn't be the first time a real-
life, big-time fraudster antagonized
a journalist for attention.
Conventional wisdom is that these
guys all now seek riches over
renown, but that's not entirely true,
in my experience.
Are you starting to get worried
for your life or the safety of your
This is---and has always been---a
principal concern for me.
Who's watching your
Researchers trying to identify
the Renaissance model for
Leonardo da Vinci s "Mona Lisa"
have excavated bones in a tomb
in a Florence basilica in hopes
they are the remains of her
Geologist Antonio Moretti told
reporters in the Santissima
Annunziata basilica yesterday the
remains had an inscribed stone
indicating they belonged to the
family of Lisa Gherardini s hus-
band and sons. Many believe she
posed for Leonardo.
Researchers will run tests to see
if DNA from the children s bones
is linked to female bones previ-
ously found in a Florence convent
and believed to be those of Gher-
ardini, who died around 1542.
If the DNA tests are positive,
experts plan to reconstruct the
woman s skull and compare it to
the portrait. The sitter s intriguing
smile, however, might remain a
Two of Germany s
biggest Internet serv-
ice providers say they
will encrypt cus-
tomers email by
reports that the US
AG and United Inter-
net AG say email sent
by their customers will
Initially the encryp-
tion will only be secure
between customers of
Deutsche Telekom s T-
Online service and
United Internet s GMX
and WEB.DE servic-
claim these three
providers account for
two-thirds of primary
email addresses in
It wasn t immedi-
ately clear if German
would have a key to
decrypt the emails.
Miscreants of the Internet love to torture Brian Krebs
Zimbabweans line up to vote in presidential elections last week.
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