How do you become a cyber security expert?

Easy. Riding elephants. Isn’t that obvious?

Pavel VrublevskyNov 4, 2018

One may blame Russian GRU Boshirov & Petrov guys as being ridiculously stupid. And they have a point — Russian negligence with cyber security matters went so far for the last few decades that nearly any personal information turned out to be on sale for anyone who is looking. I was personally a victim to this matter quite a few times in the long past, until I got fed up with that and my research ended up with a few FSB officers and their colleauges locked up in Lefortovo for treason charges. Prior to that I had to suffer one of the greatest media attacks ever and legal pressures at the same time againts myself . Any kind of threat and abuse, you name it — and I saw it all. FSB prisons, working as a fireman in a colony, crazy books written about me, I could go on forever. What strikes me as the most idiotic though is that certain people — they never stop. Just as the GNR song Civil War says — “what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”.

What prompted my piece this time is a few ingenious stories written recently by the DailyBeast. One of those stories blames Trump in being stupid and not caring enough about USA secrets. Another one basically claims that Russian GRU is extremely stupid, but dangerous nevertheless. Everyone is stupid. Except likely the author. Anyways the story about GRU actually has a point in explaining that the whole mess is in part due to how much of Russian data is easily accessible. What the story entirely misses as a point is that GRU in Russia, just as likely any intel agency in the world, is not responsible for the security of local databases — the responsibility lies entirely on the local police and counter-intelligence. I would have not cared less about the story or the other, if not for the authors who claims Trump and GRU being stupid and a “laughing stock”. And that my friends and dear readers is honestly UTTERLY funny.

Look who’s talking. Miss Kimberly Zenz.
Look who’s talking. Miss Kimberly Zenz.

Look who’s talking. Miss Kimberly Zenz.

So lets see who really is the laughing stock here. Do you recall what was the main reason for all the jokes about Russian GRU Officers? Right — its the stupid moment when they had been asked by Russian RT if they ever worked in GRU, a fact they vehemently denied. Personally for me, the funniest part of it all was the fact that Russians had no other info about Salisbury, except the wiki page, which is a huge intelligence disaster, because Salisbury is also the name of one of best Uriah Heep albums, with one of the most famous rock ballads ever to appear on that album — that is “Lady in Black”. Just imagine how different the cover legend would look like, the appearances of Boshirov and Petrov, if they would have known that fact.

The Russian best joke on the internet about their interview . “Do you work for GRU guys?” — “Negative, miss.”
The Russian best joke on the internet about their interview . “Do you work for GRU guys?” — “Negative, miss.”

The Russian best joke on the internet about their interview . “Do you work for GRU guys?” — “Negative, miss.”

Lady in Black. Perfect idea for cover legends for Boshirov and Petrov.

But wait a second. The author of the ingenious piece of Daily Beast, which promted me to write this all, Miss Kimberly Zenz had ENTIRELY same moment herself just a few month ago. Read about it here.

Meduza article screenshot.
Meduza article screenshot.

Meduza article screenshot.

Dear reader. Ok. I do not have a passport copy of Miss Zenz with a Top Secret seal on it and a CIA number. That is true. And I miss that. If you have a copy like that — feel free to send it over. Except that — everything else to make this story no different from Boshirov & Petrov is definitely there. Lets check together the biography of that reporter and see how convincing her statement is.

Miss Kimberly Zenz first appeared as someone with a hobby which basically outcries “DANGER”. That is very typical for spies I beleive. She was the capitan of American team of Elephant Polo players. Yes my dear readers. Not too many people are fearless enough to ride elephants and play polo. Just imagine how she comes to the ruthless animal, looks him right in the eye, years and years of training, the animal feels it and here she is, riding it as a roaming menace let free. Just as the song Lady in Black song says “Destruction lay around me from the fight I could not win”. Sorry I got distracted.

Miss Zenz first appearance on public as an Elephant Polo team captain.
Miss Zenz first appearance on public as an Elephant Polo team captain.

Miss Zenz first appearance on public as an Elephant Polo team captain.

Her next stop was a company called iDefense. There she worked for years, some of which she spent living in Moscow, as a cyber security expert with her main focus on Russian Cyber-Criminals. Was that a success? Its hard to say. The problem is — very soon the USA found out that iDefense and a couple of related companies were in fact CIA front companies. Ever since half of people aboard iDefense are all officials from US intelligence communities.

2007 piece about CIA forging videos against muslims.
2007 piece about CIA forging videos against muslims.

2007 piece about CIA forging videos against muslims.

James Adams Wiki bio. That is the founder of iDefense and coincidentally member of CIA advisory group.
James Adams Wiki bio. That is the founder of iDefense and coincidentally member of CIA advisory group.

James Adams Wiki bio. That is the founder of iDefense and coincidentally member of CIA advisory group.

Dear readers. You would say that enough is enough. I mean for any person with some common sense these facts above, this ingenious combination between Elephants Polo and iDefense and Moscow trips, all of that should be enough. Problem is — its never enough. When a decent publication as Daily Beast allows so easily for an author with such peculiar personal biography to publish pieces about idiots in GRU or claiming that Trump is an idiot as well (with his cell phone), that in fact nearly forces me to go on.

Because essentially the question remains the same, and its actually the same for both countries, that is Russia and USA, and for everyone else who is interested, that is how the hell that is even possible that so ridiculous people are actually accepted in intelligence communities and allowed to operate at all? I mean all of us, ok many of us, we were all grown on Cold War narratives, nuclear threats, spies vs spies and all that. And than what we see sometimes is the unbelievable level of incompetence which just does not fit into all what we have learned from the media. Take those Russian Boshirov & Petrov guys and their likely colleagues with taxi receipts back to GRU HQ in Moscow — how is that possible that people like that work at all? But is that any different from a USA girl, who appears young in international media with a hobby of Elephant Polo and than goes to work for an obviously CIA linked company and than works years in Moscow reporting on cyber-threats? No its not much different — but the reasons are in a way the same. What is the real reason behind the GRU scandal? The real reason is that in Russia you can buy any private information on any private citizen you want. I’ve been trying to come up with a way how could one actually conceal his work for intelligence in Russia and I could not find such a way. Well I dont work for them — so may be there is. The truth is — many people in Russian elites today, the top guys, that is those guys who are as well responcible for keeping those databases safe, they are all grandkids of Soviet times elites.

Believe this or not — it seems to be the same issue with USA own “Boshirovs & Petrovs”. Take Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley had so much PR that every possible smart person on earth is in Silicon Valley now. They have so much smart people around, that I suspect that janitors and strippers there have a masters degree from Stanford. Trouble is — there is only one Facebook and only one Apple.So many of those guys in fact sit without a work or business these days. Silicon Valley somewhat has overliquidity of brain in a way. So how come that at the same time you’ve got people like Zenz easily getting memberships in Atlantic Council, getting front pages of Washington Post with Elephant Polos or completely ridiculous Crowdstrike receiveing hundreds of millions of USD of investments from Google, or Brian Krebs, who’s own cover legend wont withstand even an slightest check still gets mentioned numerously in dozens and dozens of scientific alike whitepapers on cybercrime in universities like Berkeley, whearas the very same whitepapers are complete and utter rubbish from the real science or simple common sense point of view, but all of them got more funding from NSF in USA more than my company was raided for by local state banks here (that is 30M USD) ?

The answer is the same. They are all kids of elites. And in this particular case this looks so ridiculous that indeed it is very worth of comparison with Boshirov and Petrov.

Take Zenz. Her father is someone known as Franz Zenz. First time that guy appears in records actually dates back to the Cold War literally. He showed up in some weird Saudi story as long back as 1976, story is still featured by Wikileaks.

Now that IS cold war.

It goes better. Franz Zenz showes around everywhere where the USA is actively forces through the democracy to stupid locals who just cant get the concept. You can google it and see them all — that is all the best places & countries there are on Earth. That is for example Kabul, Afghanistan in 2006. There Franz Zenz run a transport company Tryco Intl working for the military (aha), however he again appeared in news, because that very company he run succesfully lost the Soviet helicopter Mi-8 and all 16 people aboard, that is a few Americans, and quite a few soldiers from United Nations including The Netherlands, all ended up dead. The court case against Franz Zenz lasted up until 2013 or so.

CBS NEWS reported how Kimberly’s father company Tryco crashed a Soviet Helicopter and all people aboard got dead. The court case in USA was going on unsuccesfully up until 2013 or so.
CBS NEWS reported how Kimberly’s father company Tryco crashed a Soviet Helicopter and all people aboard got dead. The court case in USA was going on unsuccesfully up until 2013 or so.

CBS NEWS reported how Kimberly’s father company Tryco crashed a Soviet Helicopter and all people aboard got dead. The court case in USA was going on unsuccesfully up until 2013 or so.

The Helicopter court case against Zenz screenshot.
The Helicopter court case against Zenz screenshot.

The Helicopter court case against Zenz screenshot.

Him and his family and Kimberly Zenz had (or still have) business, that is Tryco Int’l, registered around where they actually all lived in McLean village. And that is actually quite funny. Because in America if you are a security blogger as it seems there are not too many places you can live. The choice is actually in between Arlington or Mclean. Thats at least where Mr Brian Krebs and Kimberly Zenz chose to have their residences. And that is miraculous, how can one be an expert in Russian cyber-crime or cyber-security and end up in McLean, out of all places such a country as USA has to offer. I recall I was trying to figure out how come that CIA HQ, Langley, actually shows up on map at the same place as McLean is. That is until I found out that CIA website actually has a FAQ page and that believe it or not — that was a popular question. Dear reader, every time you make jokes about Boshirov & Petrov and their passports, please bear in mind that the CIA website in fact has a FAQ page. Out of all websites on Earth last one I expected to have FAQ was a CIA website. CIA website promtly explained me that Langley in fact is in McLean village.

CIA FAQ Page. No its not 404 as one might expect as a joke.
CIA FAQ Page. No its not 404 as one might expect as a joke.

CIA FAQ Page. No its not 404 as one might expect as a joke.

So Miss Zenz, who vehemently denied she worked for CIA, coincidentally, just as her father, actually lived in the same village where the CIA is located. Considering how big the CIA is and how small McLean is, I would except her to be one of very few villagers not employed by the CIA, and the only one with an elephant.

Zenz business adress route to CIA is about 7 minutes driving. That in theory is 30 minutes by an Elephant.
Zenz business adress route to CIA is about 7 minutes driving. That in theory is 30 minutes by an Elephant.

Zenz business adress route to CIA is about 7 minutes driving. That in theory is 30 minutes by an Elephant.

Its quite funny to compare Zenz biography with another super star of cyber-security matters, that is of Mr. Brian Krebs. His father Thomas Krebs was a high-ranked general in Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) during cold war and was famous for publishing lousy books about Soviet War threats and things alike. Believe it or not, he was the chief of propaganda in DIA which has resulted in part in the adoption of the American “Star Wars” program, which in it’s turn in fact in part inspired George Lucas for his film, so in a way he must have been a great man. His son’s attempt called “Pharma wars” was much less a success.

Thanks to Brian Krebs father we now have Chewbakka and Han Solo.
Thanks to Brian Krebs father we now have Chewbakka and Han Solo.

Thanks to Brian Krebs father we now have Chewbakka and Han Solo.

Brian, by the way, had much more decency in choosing his home residence than Zenz. Unlike Zenz, who in an attempt to cheer up her elephant could actually hit the CIA HQ building with an apple thrown from her window, he at least needs whole 20 minutes to drive in CIA HQ.

Way from Krebs home to CIA HQ. Whole 20 minutes.
Way from Krebs home to CIA HQ. Whole 20 minutes.

Way from Krebs home to CIA HQ. Whole 20 minutes.

So dear reader. I wont go further in criticizing the Daily Beast choice of the author for the piece which makes fun out of GRU and Mr. Trump’s cell phone. As I have explained, I firmly believe that the true reason of many events we witness today has a simple explanation — too many decisions are done by kids and grand kids of great people of the past of the real cold war we had and we are all just lucky enough that we live in times like this albeit it’s a bit sad to be honest to read pieces in news media where its really hard to distinguish between the people who write and people whom they attempt to critisize. I guess that also explains why I firmly believe that Mr. Trump’s slogan “Drain the swamp” is actually a very good one and very much in time, because if those kids really go on, we might all end up one day seriously insecure with our own kids and get back to the same point we already been into.

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