Army reservist raided by RCMP after allegations of involvement with far-right group
On the evening of August 19, Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews had his residence in the rural town of Beausejour, Manitoba raided by RCMP following accusations of his involvement with The Base, a far-right group in North America, was investigated by officials in the armed forces and RCMP.
So far, no charges have been laid, but the raid certainly sent a message of zero-tolerance regarding members of the Canadian Armed Forces potentially being involved with such groups.
Thousands of cyber victims around the world, say RCMP after Canadian charged in malware investigation
There could be thousands of malware victims in multiple countries say RCMP after they charged software developer and former IT professional John Paul Revesz on Nov. 8 under Section 342.1 of the Criminal Code – a vague hybrid offence for unauthorized use of a computer.
RCMP’s National Division Cybercrime Investigative Team aren’t saying much about Revesz except that they believe he orchestrated an “international malware scheme under the company name ‘Orcus Technologies'” following an investigation that spanned more than three years.
“This case highlights the importance of partnerships with law enforcement agencies and private sector organizations,” said the RCMP in a press release that noted police initiated their investigation in July 2016 “after reports of a significant amount of computers… infected with a ‘Remote Access Trojan’ type of virus.”
RCMP did not respond to The Post Millennial‘s queries, in particular if any additional charges were expected and what took them so long to track down Revesz, after a July 21, 2016 article by former Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs essentially outed the alleged perp.
According to Krebs’ story, he was tipped off by cyber security consultant Daniel Gallagher after a Twitter battle with Revesz, involving other malware researchers on ethics and legalities of peddling an application that gave users the ability to take control of another computer, then coaching clients how to use it.
In what’s left of the Twitter thread – John Paul Revesz’ purported allias Ciriis mcGraw has since deleted his side of the conversation – some humour belies the seriousness of Revesz’ alleged activities.
“Can you give me an example where disabling a user’s webcam light might be acceptable use?” asks Gallager sarcastically in the thread.
Another writes: “As we know all legitimate software vendors sell on hackforums”.
Like others in the security business, Gallagher is not anxious for publicity, at least beyond his Twitter following and like the RCMP, did not respond to TPM‘s queries for this story.
With the cloak-and-dagger, shroud of mystery surrounding this oddball case, TPM reached out to the accused Revesz, who obliged.
In a lengthy Facebook conversation with Revesz, he marks the Twitter debate with Gallager et al. as ground zero for two events: shoring up protocols on Orcus to protect user and client, thereby bolstering the software’s legitimacy, and Krebs for sparking the entire investigation by running to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“I can tell you exactly how this started: Twitter argument (with Gallagher et al.), they contact Krebs, who in turn contacted the FBI. The FBI contact the RCMP, and that’s how this all started,” claimed Revesz.
Revesz also said he was just the marketing side of the Orcus application business, based on “software” that was “solely developed” by a business partner Revesz declined to name.
Revesz told TPM that he imagined such an idea while working as a Systems administrator for TD Bank, a job he held more than 10 years ago.
“Orcus was for legal, legitimate Systems administrators to easily access and manage their client computers within their network,” said Revesz.
The Torontonian said he plans to fight the charges and that he doesn’t expect any additional charges, despite the hybrid nature of the criminal code offence.
“It comes down to Legal definition. Was Orcus a Remote Administrative Tool, or a Trojan? And secondly, where is the line drawn from legal software, to malware?” said Revesz who compared Orcus to a brick.
“If I pick up a brick and bludgeon someone with it, who is at fault? The brick maker or me for misusing the brick?”
Krebs, who publishes on his eponymous KrebsOnSecurity.com, told TPM that malware of the sort Revesz peddles is traded in online Hacker forums, and dismissed the claim he went to the FBI.
“Anything you want to know is in my stories… I’m not sure there is more I can say about this guy.”
According to Krebs’ latest story on the charge against Revesz, Australian police executed their search warrants coinciding with RCMP warrant on Revesz, in March of 2019.
“Several former customers of (Revesz) took to Hackforums[.]net to complain about being raided by investigators who are trying to track down individuals suspected of using Orcus to infect computers with malware,” writes Krebs.
“‘I got raided [and] within the first 5 minutes they mention Orcus to me,’ complained one customer.”
In a brief interview with TPM, Krebs said typical Orcus clients are individuals, and as he reported in July of 2016, such applications are being created by those who “think they can get away with writing, selling and supporting malicious software and then couching their commerce as a purely legitimate enterprise.”
The cyber security journalist called Revesz’ brick-argument “pretty weak” and likened Orcus business model to selling lock picks then “supporting thieves who are having trouble using them to steal stuff.”
“I can’t take credit for that, but I thought it was pretty funny,” Krebs said of a description he read on social media.
In the July 5 Twitter thread that Revesz cages as seminal to his current legal woes, Malware Tech, aka Marcus Hitchens, makes a similar argument.
And like lock picks, Krebs said Orcus-type malware “isn’t terribly sophisticated in terms of the programming that goes into them, but the functionality of them can be extraordinarily sophisticated.”
“The point is, once you get something like this on a machine, you can control it and do what (the computer owner) can do.”
Other cases involving section 342.1 of the Criminal Code–unauthorized use of computers–indicate its broad application.
Most recently, it formed part of espionage charges against RCMP Cameron Ortis. It’s also been used to prosecute people who use computers or mobile devices to lure children, as well as election tampering cases involving robocalls that provided voters incorrect or deceiving information.
On Remembrance Day, Don Cherry was fired from Sportsnet for a comment he made on Coach’s Corner regarding poppies. He complained that not enough immigrants were wearing them and suggested that it represented a general ingratitude by immigrants of the benefits they enjoy by living in Canada.
His comment, now dubbed the “‘you people’ comment”, caused predictable outrage. The state broadcaster pointed out that Cherry’s remarks could not possibly have merit because of the fact that there are visible minorities who fought for this country. Try not to think too hard about the fact that they conflated visible minorities with immigrants. I happen to be both, but many Canadians happen to be one or the other.
Many in the media interpreted (some in bad faith) it as an attack on all minorities through Canadian history. While there is a general stereotype that people of colour were not born in Canada, I dare claim that it is a fast disappearing one, at least from personal experience having lived most of my life in Ontario.
Unfortunately, while that stereotype is on the decline, another is on the rise. Even more unfortunately, the one that is on the rise has an uncomfortably high level of merit. After all, Don Cherry did not come up with an original idea, he merely expressed the “wrong” opinion in the “wrong” forum.
I know many fellow immigrant-minorities who find it quite puzzling that the mainstream media and a large section of society simply cannot fathom why racist attitudes are apparently becoming more prevalent and acceptable by progressives who hurl racist abuse against anyone who does not accept the “woke” dogma of the day and by the sentiment sometimes called “whitelash”. Did the white people of Canada spontaneously develop previously a non-existent or hidden collective race consciousness?
On the contrary, I cautiously claim that as each generation in society has its own cultural features, so do successive waves of immigrants. This is true regardless of the predominant country of origin or religion of any given wave of immigration. Not that immigrants are the same regardless of their origin, but that immigrants of the same origin will still tend to behave differently depending on when they came to Canada, and this is likely true even correcting for the amount of time spent in Canada.
In other words, an immigrant of “minority x” in 1990 who immigrated in 1975 will be systematically different from an immigrant of the same “minority x” in 2015 who immigrated in 2000. This is despite the fact that they are from essentially the same origin and have spent the same amount of time in Canada. This should not be a controversial statement.
This is because of two changing variables: the state of society in the country of origin, and the state of society in the destination country. Our society has definitely been changing, so it should not be a surprise if the way we integrate immigrants into our society changes as well. In fact, there may be a very strong case that our “immigration culture” has been changing mostly not because of changes in where our immigrants come from or their culture, but because of changes in our own culture and championing the “cultural mosaic”.
Not many people would argue with the fact that our society has become much more accommodating of social minorities, such as people in the LGBTQ community or people living with disabilities. Hopefully, not many people would argue with the claim that this is largely a positive thing for society as a whole.
Under Canadian Human Rights Law, individuals must be accommodated by society, including the government, employers, service providers, and other individuals. This accommodation must seek to prevent discrimination based on a “prohibited ground” to the point of “undue hardship”. Setting aside whether we as a society have enumerated the proper “prohibited grounds”, whether “undue hardship” is an appropriate threshold, or whether that threshold is interpreted as it should be, it is definitely reasonable for individuals to expect at least some accommodation from society because we do not all share the same characteristics, disadvantages, and capabilities, and a blanket allowance for all forms of discrimination will create discontent and will exclude too many people for society to function well.
For much of history, this accommodation was arguably too little, and we had been moving in the right direction for a long time. However, somewhere along the way, it became inappropriate to consider the extent to which individuals can be expected to accommodate society. Society is made up of individuals, and it is impossible for millions of idiosyncrasies to be accommodated perfectly. One individual’s right is necessarily another individual’s duty not to infringe upon that right. Where we create more rights, we create more duties for others.
I am not trying to argue that the poor white people of Canada are being victimized because they now have more duties not to infringe upon others’ rights not to be unfairly discriminated against. Rather, it is that rights must have a limit, or we create unlimited duties that can have negative consequences or even become impractical.
The phrase “Islam is right about women” is one illustration of this conflict. The phrase was coined to point out a popular contradiction in our modern outrage culture. The idea is that you can either be offended because you think the statement is discriminatory against either muslims or women, but thinking that it is discriminatory against muslims is sexist and thinking that it is discriminatory against women is Islamophobic. The phrase does not claim that Islam is worse for women than any other religion, and there is a good case that Christianity, as with most other religions, are sexist as well, at least by modern western standards. However, the illustration only works because muslims are considered, rightfully in my opinion, to face disproportionately high levels of unfair discrimination.
Other examples include: lessons promoting LGBTQ equality being pulled from classrooms because of complaints by immigrants that such ideas infringe upon freedom of thought or religion, claims by trans activists that lesbians are transphobic for refusing to sleep with people with penises, or labelling the term “bisexual” as exclusionary of non-binary individuals.
Excuse the cliche, but the point is this: we can’t only keep asking what our country can do for us, and not what we can do for our country. The country is nothing more than a collection of us, and we can’t expect all of us to do everything for each individual while making no attempt to fit into our society.
Canadians are bound together by what we have in common, but without the effort of individuals, the few remaining values that hold us together will only continue to weaken and we will become ever more divided into factions competing to score the biggest take for their particular team. Soon, there could be nothing we have in common with each other, other than our shared struggle to compete with each other for resources.
Diversity does not make balkanization inevitable, but our current societal trajectory probably does when “diversity is our strength” is zealously pushed without expecting some common values and customs to be upheld to keep us all together.
Don Cherry was merely pointing out one aspect of that fact.
It’s day 334 of detention for Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, held captive by China in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018.
Meng’s wanted in the United States for charges related to the Chinese tech-giant’s violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, allegedly conducting business with the rogue Islamist state through a front company in Hong Kong.
Shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, he withdrew the United States from the ‘Iran nuclear deal’, favouring sanctions and sabre rattling to prevent Iran from enriching uranium and building nuclear weapons.
Caught between two economic and military superpowers, Canada got a bit of reprieve this week, at least our pig farmers did, after China lifted its embargo on Canadian pork while similar, retaliatory prohibitions remain for our canola and beef.
If these problems weren’t enough, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s previous government delayed a decision whether to allow Huawei 5G technology onto our domestic telecommunications network – the United States has already banned it over national security concerns.
During a CBC interview aired Monday with Susan Rice, the former U.S. national security advisor to President Barack Obama echoed these concerns and said Huawei 5G presented a clear and present danger.
“It’s hard for me to emphasize adequately, without getting into classified terrain, how serious it is, particularly for countries involved in the Five Eyes,” said Rice who explained threat, then suggested the signals intelligence alliance (Five Eyes) between U.S., Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia would be jeopardized if Canada went ahead with Huawei 5G.
Huawei isn’t the only company that can provide 5G, purportedly capable of 10 gigabytes-per-second of data transfer that can activate a Bluetooth ‘internet of things’ world where all gadgets are operable via smartphone.
But Huawei’s current proliferation in the marketplace and its ties with the Chinese Communist Party, as The Post Millennial previously reported, raise questions about why the Trudeau government dithers on this national security front.
“It gives the China the ability, if they choose to use it, to access all kinds of information, civilian intelligence, military, that could be very, very compromising. As much as I disagree with the Trump administration on a number of things, on this their concern about Huawei, I believe they’re right.”
Rice went on to say that if Canada were to allow the technology on its telecom infrastructure that would forever change the security relationship between our countries.
“That would put the security collaboration which serves the security interests of every Canadian and every American, into jeopardy,” Rice said. “It can’t be done. I don’t see how we can share (intelligence) in the way we have. It’s not a joke. It’s truly serious.”
National security concerns about Huawei 5G are not new – New Zealand and Australia have followed America’s lead, while UK and Canada dither – despite warnings from intelligence experts, and now the former U.S. national security advisor.
Adding more complications to the diplomatic mess, and the Trudeau government’s inability to make a decision on Huawei 5G – one Rice’s interview indicates should be a no-brainer – is the extent to which Huawei has wormed its way into Canadian university research, and the money mainland China students pay to attend post-secondary here.
According to internal documents from the University of British Columbia obtained by National Post, after Meng’s arrest, faculty and administrators were more worried about losing Chinese students, related Huawei research deals and estranging faculty from China, than national security or the university’s integrity.
Huawei research sponsorship at UBC is currently worth $9.5 million and mainland China students make up nearly 10 percent of total enrolment at the university; 5,717 or approximately one-third of all international students at the school.
In the day’s following Meng’s arrest as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport, teachers and admin contemplated a PR strategy to combat commentary in media critical of Canadian universities’ relations with Huawei.
On December 10, the same day Kovrig and Spavor were arrested in China – the pair have since been accused of espionage – Paul Evans, an Asia expert at UBC’s public policy school wrote colleagues proposing they decide whether to be “proactive or reactive” to events that could impact research cash or students from the communist regime.
If you listened to the message being pushed by Canada’s elites, you might think that Canada has a substantial role in the world, that other countries listen to us, and that we are “big players.”
But all of that is a delusion.
A delusion that Canada’s elites appear to be increasingly mired in.
In all the areas of tangible power, whether economic, military, or diplomatic, Canada is falling behind, and getting even weaker.
Our economic growth is weak, way below that of our neighbour to the south. Our energy industry is crumbling, with the US, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Iran, and other oil-producing countries the biggest beneficiaries of our self-inflicted damage to our own energy sector.
Our military is basically non-existent, resulting in a situation in which we not only can’t defend ourselves but can’t contribute in any meaningful way to our alliances like NATO.
And when it comes to diplomacy, Canada’s elites are stuck in a pathetic “soft power” delusion, where they think we somehow “punch above” our weight, yet have no evidence to back that up. In fact, our economic and military weakness is the main cause of our diplomatic weakness, as can be seen in how Communist China feels free to treat our Citizens and our nation like garbage while facing no repercussions.
Now, Canada, of course, has the potential to be an economic power, and our high level of technological advancement could give us the ability to have an efficient and effective military. That would boost our diplomacy, and give us some real power and influence in the world.
But that won’t happen so long as the elites in our political and business class continue living in a fantasy world rather than waking up to Canada’s severe challenges and weaknesses.
If our country can’t even get our own resources to market if we can’t keep our own country unified if we can’t defend ourselves, and we can’t stand up to countries that mistreat us, why would anyone respect Canada at all?
Canada’s elites attempt to distract from our weakness by repeatedly comparing our country to the United States, thinking that somehow makes our weakness and vulnerability acceptable.
Even worse, the mismanagement of Canada by the elitist class makes us far more dependent on the United States, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t so ironic and hypocritical.
At the end of the day, Canada is a country that is squandering our potential on a massive scale, and other countries must be stunned to see us do so little with so much. For that to change, we must reject the delusions being pushed by the corrupt elites and wake up to the reality of what Canada really is, and what Canada should be.