Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
United States Spam

Cuba: US Using New Weapon Against Us -- Spam 139

Posted by samzenpus
from the filling-the-pipes dept.
mpicpp (3454017) writes in with news about accusations from Cuban officials about a spamming campaign against the country by the U.S.. "Cuban officials have accused the U.S. government of bizarre plots over the years, such as trying to kill Fidel Castro with exploding cigars. On Wednesday, they said Washington is using a new weapon against the island: spam. 'It's overloading the networks, which creates bad service and affects our customers,' said Daniel Ramos Fernandez, chief of security operations at the Cuban government-run telecommunications company ETECSA. At a news conference Wednesday, Cuban officials said text messaging platforms run by the U.S. government threatened to overwhelm Cuba's creaky communications system and violated international conventions against junk messages. The spam, officials claim, comes in the form of a barrage of unwanted text messages, some political in nature. Ramos said that during a 2009 concert in Havana performed by the Colombian pop-star Juanes, a U.S. government program blanketed Cuban cell phone networks with around 300,000 text messages over about five hours."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cuba: US Using New Weapon Against Us -- Spam

Comments Filter:
  • by DeathToBill (601486) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @05:46AM (#46712063) Journal

    300,000 in five hours? God forbid!

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @05:57AM (#46712093) Journal
      This is pretty serious business. At a potential maximum of 140 octects/message, that's (just)Over 40 Megabytes delivered in the course of 5 hours.

      Just think. To deliver an attack like that, the US government must have had some sort of time machine, with Ronald Reagan shouting "Now witness the destructive power of this fully armed and operational ARPANET!" before turning on, um, maybe a couple dozen modems at once.
      • Yes, Cuba too is targeted by corporate America, its not just for the citizens of the US anymore.

      • by bkmoore (1910118)

        This is pretty serious business. At a potential maximum of 140 octects/message, that's (just)Over 40 Megabytes delivered in the course of 5 hours. Just think. To deliver an attack like that, the US government must have had some sort of time machine, with Ronald Reagan shouting "Now witness the destructive power of this fully armed and operational ARPANET!" before turning on, um, maybe a couple dozen modems at once.

        Cuba's lucky. A lot of the modems got a busy signal. Otherwise it could have been worse.

    • by macpacheco (1764378) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @06:13AM (#46712131)

      300k SMS in five hours ? That's just 18 SMS / second.
      Add three zeros and you're still not making even the oldest GSM network in the world sweat.
      Sounds like a big bowl of boloney mixed with a lot of malarkey.
      Perhaps the explanation is since everything is censored in Cuba, perhaps the govt minders were overwhelmed trying to censor that much SMS, that would actually make some sense.

      • The texts they are complaining about are probably involved with the Cuba Twitter website. They had to come up with some slant to complain about them while saving face about the issue. Complaining about a foreign government trying to promote subversion of the Cuban government doesn't have the same ring to it.
    • Re:The sheer volume! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by EasyTarget (43516) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:53AM (#46712487) Journal

      It's 2009, networks were smaller then.

      According to this [wikipedia.org] there were just 300k mobiles in Cuba in 2008.

      So it was actually an attempt to spam every person with a mobile in Cuba with pro-US propaganda. And it's just one of many such political spammings, and they still continue.

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      Checking my last cell bill, I think that's about the combined average rate for my kids and wife during any typical 5 hour period.

    • Re:The sheer volume! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by erikkemperman (252014) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:31AM (#46713955)

      Yeah, so their cellular networks are not quite as advanced as much of the rest of the world. How did you expect them to keep up, given that economic sanctions prohibit most producers of relevant hard- and software from trading with Cuba? Given the circumstances they have to chose their battles, I guess. It is a miracle how they managed to build up one of the most advanced healthcare systems in Latin America.

      By the way, there was a really fascinating AP story [wikipedia.org] about a related US attempt to disrupt this sovereign nation: USAID covertly set up a fake twitter service, complete with shell companies, executives recruited on false pretexts, and so on. It reads like a bad spy novel, until you realize how sad it is that this counts as "development". If these were my taxdollars at work, I'd go see about that pitchfork.

  • They might be right. (Score:4, Informative)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@[ ].com ['mac' in gap]> on Thursday April 10, 2014 @05:53AM (#46712077) Journal

    This is the level of brain-dead scheme that the CIA has pulled many times in the past, but it's just as likely that they're just getting overwhelmed by one incompetent spammer with a fat pipe...

    -jcr

    • by Nyder (754090) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @05:57AM (#46712095) Journal

      This is the level of brain-dead scheme that the CIA has pulled many times in the past, but it's just as likely that they're just getting overwhelmed by one incompetent spammer with a fat pipe...

      -jcr

      Not sure how fat of a pipe you need to send roughly 17 text messages a second. But 300k text messages over 5 hours isn't really that much, unless they are going to a small amount of numbers. Must be running some old systems in Cuba.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @06:23AM (#46712151)

        I work at an SMS aggregator. We are the fat pipe. We run at a peak capacity of 2000 messages per second per connection to an operator. Cuba has one operator (officially).

        Operators are capable of handling more than we can send, but in that 5 hours we could have flooded their network with 36m messages. 300k is a drop in the bucket.

        If we used multiple routes instead of direct to the operator, we could have run hundreds of millions in that same period.

        check us out. http://www.cmtelecom.com/why-cm

      • Not sure how fat of a pipe you need to send roughly 17 text messages a second. But 300k text messages over 5 hours isn't really that much, unless they are going to a small amount of numbers. Must be running some old systems in Cuba.

        It's not the size of the pipe, it's the severity of the clog's filth. You grossly underestimate the content of these messages. TFA says some contained political rhetoric written by the CIA. I have quite a few routers that will barf core at the mere smell of partisan politics in the filters, and Cuba is getting weapon's grade bullshit!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @06:21AM (#46712149)

      If you read the article it's unlikely that it's a spammer. Apparently the USA has actively spammed Cuba in the past under the argument of 'fostering free speech'. We built and distributed programs that are illegal in Cuba. It would be similar to people from Iraqi coming over to the USA and physically forcing as many people as they could to wear headscarfs under the argument of improving our morals. They have no more right to force their values on us as we do to force our values on Cuba's population.

      Our government confirms it had these programs. They were stopped due to funding cuts (some funding cuts actually work, yay!). This article isn't about the 300,000 text messages that are known to have been sent by USA back in 2009, but about Cuba's new claim that the USA has refunded and restarted it's spamming efforts. I really hope we're not wasting money on crap like this.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Thanks for trying to post some truth, but between the government astroturf and the useful idiots there is not much chance anyone will pay attention.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Pino Grigio (2232472)

        It would be similar to people from Iraqi coming over to the USA and physically forcing as many people as they could to wear headscarfs under the argument of improving our morals

        I expect you're one of those people who thinks Venezuela's current government is "forging a bold new alternative to neo-liberalism", aren't you.

        • by NotDrWho (3543773)

          I, for one, have no illusions about the nobility of Castro or the Venezuelan govt. (or Iran or North Korea, for that matter). But I also am not a fool who think that hundreds of thousands of CIA and NSA employees just sit around all day staring at walls. The CIA has a long, well-established, and VERY shameful history in Cuba (even engaging in open terrorism [wikipedia.org] there).

          So you can be sure that pretty much any effort to that undermines the Castro government there is AT LEAST being supported and/or funded by the CI

        • I expect you're one of those people who thinks Venezuela's current government is "forging a bold new alternative to neo-liberalism", aren't you.

          I certainly do. The GNI per capita has soared since the Bolivarian revolution. Big reduction in poverty. Longer life expectancy. Better access to water. And unlike the USA, the Venezuelan government is running a surplus, not a deficit.

          http://translate.google.com/tr... [google.com]|en&tbb=1&ie=UTF-8

          • by cusco (717999)

            But Chavez was elected by 70% of the population, so that means he was a dictator! And they're closing down radio stations with expired licenses and giving that bandwidth to stations that don't belong to international mega-corps, so that means they're oppressing free speech! Or something.

            • It's possible you could be more naive and stupid, but I'm not quite sure how.
              • Are you denying the fact that the Bolivarians have won the last 18 out of 19 elections. Or are you just assuming that because it's politics you don't agree with it MUST have been corrupt elections - despite Jimmy Carter saying: "As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world."

                Here's why you have the wrong beliefs you do:
                http://www.theguardian.com/com... [theguardian.com]
                Maybe it's you that's naive and stupid?

          • Venezuelan government is running a surplus, not a deficit

            Hahahaha. Oh the hilarity. Venezuela, progressive paradise [bloomberg.com].

            • I guess you didn't read all of the article.

              Price controls and increased food imports helped boost the caloric intake of the average Venezuelan by 50 percent during Chavezâ(TM)s first 12 years in office, with rice consumption surging 70 percent, according to the National Nutrition Institute. Using the countryâ(TM)s oil wealth, Chavez cut poverty in half before his death from cancer in March, according to the World Bank.

              Great progress indeed. You have to remember how badly off the people were before the revolution.

              âoeRegulated goods are just too cheap to stay on the shelves.â

              As opposed to the US, where the poor have to go to food banks because they can't afford food.

              For sure, right now there are some economic problems in Venezuela. But unlike America they haven't had to prop up their largest companies with billions of taxpayer dollars.

              The Venezualan Bolivarian Government has won 18 out of the last 19 elections. And that's in an election syst

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MightyYar (622222)

        The Iraq analogy is pretty flawed, as Iraq would be asserting their morals upon a democratic population. USA's target is an authoritarian government. If you need an Iraq analogy, it would be like the government of Iraq sending people in the US spam SMS messages espousing the virtues of Islam. Annoying, to be sure, but not exactly a breathtaking intrusion on sovereignty.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      I want to know what's so bizarre about "Cuban officials accusing the U.S. government of bizarre plots over the years, such as trying to kill Fidel Castro with exploding cigars." I think the CIA's many, many efforts to assasinate Castro over the years have been well-documented [wikipedia.org]. An exploding cigar would be no less bizarre than many of the attempts we already know about.

      • thank you. the US loves few things more than stroking it's hard on for Cuba. It's entirely possible the exploding cigars was a reality in some form. hardly bizarre
  • by Viol8 (599362)

    .. that the Cuban government still think the US gives a damn about their 3rd world Island apart from Guantanamo Bay. Since the USSR collapsed its been pretty irrelevant in the scheme of things other than a source of refugees and comedy revolutionaries in green slacks with silly beards.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @06:15AM (#46712133) Journal
      They are hardly a dangerous player in Cold War intrigue anymore; but I wouldn't necessarily underestimate the supply of nostalgic B-list and below feds just itching to go fight the last war, now set to 'casual' difficulty level.

      Unless they truly fuck something up, people just keep accruing seniority until they die or finally become too senile to disguise their senility. We still have some years left before we've aged out all the cold warriors.
      • by Viol8 (599362)

        True, you'll always get people still fighting old wars whether left or right wing. But as the years go by they slowly slip into irrelevance and die off. However unless Putin suddenly decides Cuba is his new best friend - unlikely - its importance in world affairs is only going to go further and further down the list.

        • Russia is still a close friend of Cuba. But don't forget that China is too. And they are heading towards being the worlds biggest superpower.

      • by romco (61131) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:57AM (#46712503) Homepage

        >feds just itching to go fight the last war

        I don't think the feds want to go to war. Cuba is communist and parts of it work. (like health care for the amount they spend). If they lifted the embargo and stop messing with them they could become a very successful communist country.

        The success would be more due to them being a great tourist location and less because they are communist but the right wing is simply not going to tolerate a successful communist county if they can do anything about it.

        • "...a great tourist location..."

          Have you been there?

          Some of the beaches are very very nice, but most hotels are *very* average, and the food, while adequate, is meh-level at best.

          That is why it's one of, if not THE cheapest all-inclusive destinations in the Caribbean.

          • Sure, right now. But I have no doubt that if all the "off limits" stuff dissipated tomorrow it would be neigh on 5 years before 5 star hotels and brand new sandy beaches with golf courses popped up.

    • Don't underestimate the PR power Cuba still holds. If you can show that you're a badass mofo who won't take a shit from Cuba and take every chance to piss them off, your chance to get elected rise considerably in certain areas of the US.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        That time is rapidly disappearing, all the old Cubans who Castor ousted and fled to the US are dying or dead, just like Castro. The money to politicians from them is also dying. As such, our giving a shit about Cuba ... rapidly dying as well.

      • by DriveDog (822962)
        Finally somebody's getting at what's behind all the meddling in Cuba. Virulent anti-Castro Cuban ex-pats hold a lot of political sway, and giving them what they want doesn't annoy many other US citizens. So they get what they want because the cost to politicians is near zero. Never mind that Cuba isn't the falling domino threatening to take the rest of Latin America to communism that it was thought to be 50 years ago and really has little effect on anyone outside its borders. Sure, there are a few dinosaurs
    • by jandersen (462034) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:48AM (#46712467)

      Another, perhaps less amusing thing is that the US actually do care; at least as long as there is a noisy group of displaced, Cuban voters to please.

    • by Johann Lau (1040920) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:52AM (#46712481) Homepage Journal

      The idiotic thing is that you think "the US" is a monolith, instead of a bunch of agencies made up by people, with plenty of incentive to use tax payer money for useless or even counterproductive things, like attacking Iraq in response to 9/11, or killing kids with drones. If anything, "The US" isn't in the business of dealing with threats, it's in the business of creating them while talking about mushroom clouds and fucking its own population as it jumps on chairs in fear of imaginary mice; and the population responds with hollow chauvinistic sound bites aimed about other populations to make itself feel better about it. You're pinned to the floor, get fleeced for everything of value you got, and scream "ahhh! sweet victory!" because it's even worse elsewhere. Fucking pathetic.

    • .. that the Cuban government still think the US gives a damn about their 3rd world Island apart from Guantanamo Bay.

      It cares enough that the embargo is still in full force.

    • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:38AM (#46713305)

      .. that the Cuban government still think the US gives a damn about their 3rd world Island apart from Guantanamo Bay. Since the USSR collapsed its been pretty irrelevant in the scheme of things other than a source of refugees and comedy revolutionaries in green slacks with silly beards.

      Well, the problem is that there are some people who do care and their influence is way out of whack with regards to their actual numbers. There are a small number of members of the US House and Senate who are offspring of Cuban refugees and they have a lot of influence. The younger generation of people who immigrated many years ago has little interest in continuing the embargo, but there are still enough of the old hardcore anti-Castro people in Florida that no president is willing to undo the embargo for fear of the next presidential election going against his party. Florida is a hotly contested state that gives a very thin majority to whoever wins it in the presidential elections. Florida has a lot of electoral votes. So if you piss off, say, 40 or 50 thousand voters who care a lot (maybe too much) about the Castro brothers and Cuba, you could lose the next presidential election. So the president never has the courage to drop the embargo as either he or his party's next candidate will face angry voters in the next presidential election and it could be enough to decide the race in favor of the other party. It's rather remarkable to see an entire country held hostage to the whims of a really small group of people over one issue, but that's exactly how it is here.

    • by jodido (1052890)
      If that's true, then why is the blockade still in place (and it's real, btw)? Why can't U.S. residents travel freely to Cuba? Why can't Cubans easily get US visas to travel here (from the US govt, not the Cuban govt)? Why is it illegal to send money to a Cuban in Cuba?
      • by cusco (717999)

        For that matter, why can't US students study medicine in Cuba? Why can't Cuban-trained doctors practice in the US? Students in much of the world have the opportunity to study medicine in Cuba for no charge, in exchange for the promise to practice medicine in under-served communities in their own countries for (IIRC) 5 years.

    • The amusing thing is that the Cuban government still think the US gives a damn about their 3rd world Island apart from Guantanamo Bay.

      If they didn't, the US government wouldn't still be depriving their own citizens of the right to smoke Cuban cigars. Nor implementing any of the other severe economic sanctions (economic war).

    • the fact they the US Govt is starting a cuban version of twitter with the sole intent of overthrowing the government would seem to suggest they DO still care about hating on Cuba.
  • It would take care of Fidel's beard once and for all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @06:28AM (#46712169)
    We had all kinds of crazy ideas for killing Castro. 10 Ways the CIA tried to kill Castro [mentalfloss.com]
    • by jandersen (462034)

      - paid for by the tax-payer.

      I like no 5:

      5. Contaminated cigar. They may have given up on the TNT stogie, but the idea of spiking his smokes was still being floated around. The CIA even went as far as to recruit a double agent who would slip Castro a cigar filled with botulin, a toxin that would kill the leader in short order. The double agent was allegedly given the cigars in February of 1961, but he apparently got cold feet.

      Cold feet, or maybe he was just dying for a smoke.

  • by Tom (822)

    The crazy thing is that with what we've learnt about the US the past years, and the governments total disregard for anything besides their own power, I'm not really sure if these claims are as outlandish as they sound.

    I think we've come a good way when we no longer think that the claims of the crazy are untrue just because they sound crazy.

    And yes, the volumes given are so tiny that it could very well be something that some agency discovered on their TODO list under the "do when you've got a minute" section

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Whoah, you've got your own crazy stalker. That's so awesome. I wish I was that popular!
      • by Tom (822)

        It gets old quite fast. But I think he's going to go away soon, he's already started simply copying the same nonsense post everywhere.

        Anyway, if you want him, you can have him. :-)

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      The funny thing is that people seem to think the US is the only one doing this. The US isn't unique, its just the one that most recently got caught.

      Cuba tries the same thing ... they just kind of such at it, relative to the US.

      All countries do, except maybe the Scandinavian countries, but lets face it, they're still trying to figure out why they haven't moved to somewhere with a sane climate.

      • by Tom (822)

        Yes, that's probably the reason why around the world, governments seem to be much less interested in following those revelations than one would assume - they fear their own dirty laundry could show up if a serious investigation would be launched.

  • i would disconnect the nation from the rest of the world and turn the nation's internet connection in to a nationwide Local Area Network, so the people of my nation can communicate with each other by the various methods (audio, video, text) and have a few world wide connected computers that filter out all the spam and malware, and once checked it can be circulated on the national LAN.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Filtered... nice.

      North Korea, Iran, Syria ... is that you guys?

      • by FudRucker (866063)
        unless you consider spam, government propaganda disguised as news, NSA snooping trojans & root-kits, theft of data for their criminal friends on wallstreet and military-industrial complex as freedom of speech

        what passes as freedom of speech in the USA is about like considering a rape a sexual encounter among consenting adults

    • Waiting weeks or years to get the next episode of shows airing right now without a .torrent? A few well crafted spoiler tweets gets through and you'd be gutted and roasting like a pig.

  • Didn't we do something similar to the Taliban involving telemarketers after 9/11?
  • my dad was Cuban...came over in '59 when Castro came to power, and made a really good life for himself.

    funny thing is...he loved spam...said it was really popular over there.

    go figure.

  • And yet, the bureaucrats and SJWs will scratch their heads in wonder at why average Americans have such a cavalier attitude towards bullying.
  • I believe the US sends about 4% of the world's volume of spam, depending on how you measure it. So um...no.
  • American foreign policy has been, and continues to exist, on autopilot. the kind of 'hearts-and-minds' democracy predates the carter administration and was originally pushed as part of a diet of secret military coups, sponsored terrorist campaigns, and random acts of embargo designed to pressure communist and socialist governments in latin america toward democracy. the people we would install were usually brutally dictatorial.

    the problem is Cuba has watched us do this for quite some time, and become ser

    • by cusco (717999)

      we were scared of castro when he had nuclear arms

      Huh? When did this happen? Even during the Cuban Missile Crisis the Soviet nukes never arrived at the island, just the disassembled missiles.

  • Still with that? Obviously big fishes are pocketing tons of taxpayers money with this scam.....and those guys will never cut the flow, on both sides of the story. Reality is, no govt really cares about the people.
  • It's that Nigerian prince, I tell ya!

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

Working...