FDA, STI, Partners Brainstorm on Forest Management

first_imgThe Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Sustainable Trade Initiative (STI), concession heads, civil society representatives, stakeholders, donor partners have stressed the need for the forest management process to move forward.These assertions were advanced yesterday in Monrovia at a one day consultative conference on the Concept Note crafted by the IHD Sustainable Trade Initiative. The ceremony was held at the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC) in Monrovia, where FDA Managing Director Harrison S. Karnwea, Sr., said in order for Liberia to conserve the forest, a letter of Intent was signed last year with the Kingdom of Norway in New York, the United States of America.According to him, the actual intent of that letter signed with Norway is to preserve and conserve the Liberian forest and increase productivity in the cash and food crops.He also pointed out that Liberia does not want to conserve the forest and see Liberians dying with hunger and other related socio-economic hardships in the country.“As a result of that vital forest initiative, a high-powered delegation is currently in the country to hold discussions with the government, stakeholders, forest concessionaires, partners in the oil palm sector in the country,” Director Karnwea asserted.He also disclosed that the two separate delegations are in the country to assist Liberia forest stakeholders and partners work out plans that would make the Liberian forest productive and sustainable.Earlier, the Director General of the National Bureau of Concessions, Madam Ciata Bishop, urged the participants to talk and work out concrete modalities for the sustainable preservation of the Liberian forest.“It is our hopes that our partners will work together to finalize documents that would be in the best interest of the country,” Madam Bishop concluded.In a brief remark, the Focal Person on Liberia-Norway deal, Arid Skedsmo, urged the participants to accelerate the process of putting finishing touches to the documents that would enhance the sustainable management and conservation of the forest. Also speaking, Civil Society representative Francis K. Colee of Green Advocates assured the FDA management and partners of the Liberian civil society groups willingness to work together and finalize the forest documents.He then stressed the need for the enhancement of the forest concept paper in order that forest dwellers and community land owners could experience the benefits of their natural resources.“We are all in the same boat and I want to assure you people that we will work together to see the practical implementation of the concept paper,” Mr. Colee noted.The concept paper among other components intimated that international companies are compelled to avoid deforestation by their commitment to environmental standards at every level. According to the paper, the successful development of concessions necessarily requires the simultaneous achievement of commercial, community and conservation objectives.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

A look at buying put options

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLCThe market continues to watch the actions of the President and China. It’s hard to know if there will be a trade fix at the G20 meeting in just over a week. I expect a sideways market through the holiday and leading up to the big meeting between world leaders. After the meeting, it’s still uncertain, but recent history indicates the market hits its low at the end of November and starts increasing in December.The last two weeks I explained why I prefer to sell calls and why I avoid buying calls for my farm operation. But, what about put options? What is a “put” option?Buying a put is the right to sell grain at a desired price. Basically it allows a farmer to guarantee a floor price for their grain while leaving unlimited upside potential if the market rallies. When buying a put there is an upfront cost premium, but no risk of margin call.This sounds like a safe, low risk option. With so much uncertainty in farming, like the weather and politics, buying puts on the surface looks like it can help minimize farmer fears of an unpredictable market. However, like all option trades, it’s not a perfect solution. Issue 1: The cost of the putWhen buying a put I have to subtract that cost from the price level I purchase. For example, Dec ’19 futures are about $4 right now with a $4 put costing about 25 cents. That means the true floor price for my grain is $3.75 ($4 – $.25 = $3.75).Most University studies say the average farmer needs $4.20 futures to cover all production costs. So, I’m not interested in protecting a floor price that is 40 to 50 cents below the average farmers’ breakeven. Issue 2: The value of a put decreases during market ralliesIf the market rallies over the summer, I’ll lose some or all of the premium I paid to buy the put. This isn’t exactly bad because it means the price of grain is going higher and the puts did their job. But just like my floor price is actually below the price level I buy when I purchase a put so too then is the higher price I sell after I subtract out my costs for buying and later selling the put.For example, let’s say I bought the $4 put for 25 cents today and then the market rallies to $4.40 in late summer and I sell my grain at that point. Since I no longer need the floor protection the put provides, I should sell it back out to recover as much of the premium I can. However, by then it’s value would have likely decreased by 15 cents to about the 10 cent level. Since I still need to take into account the cost of the put, the price of my sold grain is actually $4.25 not $4.40 ($4.40 – $.15 put ownership cost = $4.25). While that’s above the average breakeven, it’s not by much.With what we know today, a rally to $4.40 next summer could be unattainable. For the last w years the market stalled out between $4.15 to $4.30 over the summer. So, for me it would be a better plan to just sell those values, if they become available, than to buy a put today that provides a floor for well below my breakeven.To illustrate my point, let’s say I buy the $4 put today for the 25 cents and futures rally to $4.20 next summer. If that happened, I could sell corn for $4.20, and then sell back the put, which is now worth likely only 15 cents (10 cents less than the amount purchased). Since I still need to take into account the 10 cent difference, my corn sale at $4.20 is now only worth $4.10. $4.10 is only 10 cents higher than current prices today, so buying the put actually limited my upside potential from the small rally I’m hoping for.Now if prices fall to $3 next fall, I would want puts in place. But, I’m not sure $3 is likely, just like I don’t think $4.50 is likely with the information I have today. I find it’s usually best for me to not get overly greedy hoping for a huge rally with my options strategy and just sell my grain in early and middle summer. This is where its so important to have a sound marketing plan in place and to have a strategy that takes into account a market that could move in any direction. Is there a good time to buy a put?Back in 2011, 2012 and 2013, it was possible to buy put options where the guaranteed price, after the cost of the premium, was above my breakeven point. But since 2013, similar opportunities have been limited.This year I had some success buying puts about a week or so before a few USDA reports, but the money made and protection levels received were limited. In hindsight, I should have just sold futures instead of trying to cling to hope that prices would go higher.In looking back at 2018, the best opportunity to buy a put successfully was if a farmer bought a $4 put for 20 cents in mid-May when the market hit it’s high for the year at $4.25. However, with that trade the best a farmer would have done was to have a $3.80 floor, because the market only went down right after that. Instead, the better strategy would have been to just sell futures from $4.20 to $4.25, which was at least 40 cents better than clinging to hope with the put strategy.In my experience, I’m generally better off selling futures when prices rally above the average farmers’ breakeven point instead of trying to buy protection below my cost of production. Ultimately, if the market rallies significantly I have next year’s grain to sell that will now be at much higher levels. What about selling puts?Put option sellers receive a premium upfront in exchange for having to buy grain at a certain level. There could be margin call on this trade if the market fell and this trade would then make the put seller long grain. Typically this type of trade would be done by end users and not grain producers. A producer selling puts would be speculative and would add risk to their operation. Buying and selling put options are not a perfect solutionMany in the trade make it seem like buying put options is a perfect solution for farmers, but as detailed above, they are far from perfect and have many limitations. I’m always cautious with the promise of downside protection and unlimited upside potential. In grain marketing there is often a catch when something sounds too good to be true.The reality when buying puts is that I will usually miss out on opportunities if prices go up, down or sideways. And on the flip side, if I sold a put, I make a little money when the market goes up or stays sideways, but my downside isn’t protected and I’ve added risk to my operation because I could actually have more grain than what I started with that I would have to worry about.While buying put options can provide another layer of opportunity in a grain marketing strategy, they aren’t the perfect solution many in the trade make them out to be. It’s why I seldom by puts for my operation. Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. He can be contacted at jon@superiorfeed.com.last_img read more

Are You a Caregiver?

first_imgThe term ‘caregiver’ can be defined as an individual that provides care, whether it is paid or unpaid, to someone with an impairment. However, when we hear the term ‘caregiver’ our thoughts are immediately drawn to the idea of caring for an aging adult. The term may be hard to accept, especially if you are caring for a younger adult…say from the military perhaps.As a military spouse or family member caring for your wounded service member, the term ‘caregiver’ may not even cross your mind. You assume as spouse or family member that it is just part of caring for the individual you love. In reality, we are all caregivers at some point in our life – caring for our children, parent, spouse or friend.In the video below Michael Roos, Military Family Life Counselor at Joint Base Lewis McChord, explains his thoughts on the term ‘caregiver.’ Listen to the video below and how his comments may relate to your personal experience.How do you define ‘caregiving?’ Do you consider yourself a caregiver?For military spouses, families or friends caring for wounded, ill and injured service members, it is important to understand that you are now taking on a new role as ‘Military Caregiver.’ While you may not see yourself as a caregiver, it is important to identify yourself in this role in order to understand specific education and information related to your service member’s injury or condition and how it may affect you.So I ask the question again – How do you define ‘caregiving?’ Do you consider yourself a caregiver?This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on October 28, 2014.last_img read more

UFC: Trilogy bout with Nate Diaz should happen at 155 lbs, McGregor insists

first_imgLATEST STORIES But if Diaz is indeed interested in a trilogy bout, McGregor insists that it has to be in the 155-lb. division, which the Irish superstar currently lords over.“I’m the 155-pound champion, I faced him at 170, he beat me, then I rematched him at 170, I beat him,” he was quoted as saying in a BBC News report. “Now I’m the 155-pound world champion. If he wants that fight, he must come down”.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingAfter fighting above his weight class for their first two matches, “The Notorious” believes it’s only natural that the third match take place under his stipulations.“That’s a fair trade. I didn’t ask for the rematch at a lower weight, I asked for the rematch at the exact same weight,” he explained. “I thought that was a fair play move on my half and then I came in and I won. So now I won that, then I won the 155-pound title after that. If he wants to fight, he’s got to make that 155-pound limit.” Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim #KicksStalker: Jordan’s second shoe gets new life Meanwhile, McGregor is expected to take some time off fighting after competing in the biggest fight of his life against undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr.He also made it clear that he is open to taking another boxing match if the right fight comes along.  Khristian Ibarrola /raRELATED STORIES:Olympic medalist Michael Phelps challenges Conor McGregor to swimming raceLOOK: McGregor congratulates Mayweather, says he has ‘strong tools’ for MMAADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next UFC fighters Nate Diaz (left) and Conor McGregor. AP File photoNow that Conor McGregor’s tenure inside the boxing ring has passed, it’s time to get back to the UFC and settle some unfinished business inside the octagon.Perhaps high on the UFC Lightweight Champion’s list is a grudge match against Nate Diaz, whom he engaged in two thrilling welterweight bouts last year.ADVERTISEMENT Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesterscenter_img Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games View commentslast_img read more

Big Day Five Ahead At Super Trans Tasman

first_imgDay five of the 2013 Super Trans Tasman Series is shaping to be the biggest yet, with eight games back-to-back and a lot on the line for the Australian teams. In the Masters divisions, Australia and New Zealand have both won two series each, with Australia claiming the Men’s 40’s and Men’s 50’s and New Zealand winning the Senior Mixed and Women’s 30’s. The Masters Trans Tasman title rests with the team who wins the third and deciding Men’s 30’s decider, and after two very exciting games so far, the third match will no doubt be an exciting spectacle.Games start at 10.50am NZ time, with each of today’s eight games played on the stadium field. In the Open’s division, Australia needs to take out the Men’s and Mixed games two to level the series back at 1-all after their respective losses yesterday. The Women’s Open team will be hopeful of taking out game two today and taking an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series after their 6-3 win yesterday. Stay tuned to the www.austouch.com.au website and the Touch Football Australia Facebook and Twitter pages to keep up-to-date with all of the latest news and results:www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustraliawww.twitter.com/touchfootyausStay tuned to the TFA YouTube channel over the coming days to see all of the highlights of the Masters Trans Tasman Series and Open’s Trans Tasman Series:www.youtube.com/touchfootballausSuper Trans Tasman Day Five10.50am – Men’s 50’s12.00pm – Men’s 40’s1.10pm – Senior Mixed2.20pm – Women’s 30’s3.30pm – Men’s 30’s4.40pm – Mixed Open5.50pm – Women’s Open7.00pm – Men’s OpenRelated LinksSTT Day Fivelast_img read more

Listen: Brandon Harris’ High School Coach Wants Him To Transfer From LSU

first_imgLSU fans wait in line outside Tiger Stadium.BATON ROUGE, LA – SEPTEMBER 19: Fans wait outside of Tiger Stadium to watch the football team arrive between the Louisiana State University Tigers and the University of Louisiana-Lafatette Ragin’ Cajuns at Tiger Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)Freshman quarterback Brandon Harris had a shot to win the quarterback job at LSU this season. After promising performances against Mississippi State and New Mexico State, Harris had a putrid game in the Tigers’ loss to Auburn, completing just 3-of-14 throws for 58 yards in a 41-7 loss. Harris threw just one more pass on the season, an interception against Kentucky. Harris’ high school coach David Feaster doesn’t believe that his former player got a fair shot in Baton Rouge, and encouraged him to transfer to JuCo and eventually another Division I program.Feaster: I tried to talk Brandon Harris into transferring at the break. Since he qualified, he could go JUCO, play 1 yr., go elsewhere— TheTimFletcherShow (@FletchWorldWide) January 28, 2015Feaster: LSU had worst passing game and best QB on the bench— TheTimFletcherShow (@FletchWorldWide) January 28, 2015Feaster: Brandon is dedicated to LSU. He really wants to make it work— TheTimFletcherShow (@FletchWorldWide) January 28, 2015You’re not biased towards your kid or another but you KNOW when an athlete could play in the collegiate level. -Wilson— TheTimFletcherShow (@FletchWorldWide) January 28, 2015Apparently LSU is still telling WR recruits that “you’re QB, you know, Brandon Harris.”— TheTimFletcherShow (@FletchWorldWide) January 28, 2015Feaster said he was sick of LSU telling lies to the public.— TheTimFletcherShow (@FletchWorldWide) January 28, 2015If Feaster were Anthony Jennings dad, he’d be upset with Miles for saying this year was a disappointing QB year.— TheTimFletcherShow (@FletchWorldWide) January 28, 2015Between the lack of faith in both Harris and Anthony Jennings, and the fact that LSU has reportedly had contact with potential transfers like Everett Golson and Braxton Miller, Feaster has a point. However, we totally understand why Harris would want to stick it out at a program like LSU.[247Sports]last_img read more

NFLs Larry Fitzgerald Visits Malaysia With Starkey Hearing Foundation

first_imgStarkey Hearing Foundation wrapped up its hearing mission in Penang, Malaysia last month with the help of Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, who assisted in fitting more than 2,600 children and adults with hearing aids throughout the course of the mission.This marks Fitzgerald’s 10th mission with the Foundation.Over five days, Starkey Hearing Foundation delivered the gift of hearing to patients with the help of the Foundation’s team of audiologists and staff, fitting each of the recipients with their own custom-made, hearing device.“Starkey Hearing Foundation has promoted hearing care awareness through its support of research, education and the distribution of hearings aids to those in need all over the world, and it’s been our good fortune to have the loyal support of committed, Hearing Angels like Larry Fitzgerald, who helped us change lives in Malaysia by reconnecting people to their families and communities through the gift of hearing.” stated Bill Austin, Founder, Starkey Hearing Foundation.Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Malaysia hearing mission is one of dozens of missions conducted each year by the Foundation both domestically and internationally. Hearing missions are the primary way Starkey Hearing Foundation realizes its goal – So the World May Hear. In turn, the Foundation fit more than 110,000 hearing aids to individuals in need in 2011 alone, and as a member of President Clinton’s Global Initiative, it has pledge to fit 1 million by the end of this decade.According to Starkey Hearing Foundation, hearing loss is pervasive, affecting 34 million Americans – or one in 10. Yet, with the help of a hearing device, hearing loss can often be corrected in a majority cases, giving an individual the opportunity to better connect with their family, the community, and the world around them.last_img read more

Silk adhesive leads to development of epidermal electronics

first_imgProfessor Hyunjoo Jenny Lee from the School of Electrical Engineering and her team explored ways to develop reusable, water-degradable, biocompatible and conductive epidermal electronics that can be attached to the human skin for long-term use. To overcome the limitations of conventional silk fibroin, the team introduced Ca ions to modify silk fibroin into a strong and biocompatible adhesive. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 21 2018Producing effective epidermal electronics requires a strong, biocompatible interface between a biological surface and a sensor. Here, a KAIST team employed a calcium-modified silk fibroin as a biocompatible and strong adhesive. This technology led to the development of epidermal electronics with strong adhesion for patients who need drug injections and physiological monitoring over a long time. To test the effectiveness, the team employed the silk adhesive to fabricate an epidermal capacitive touch sensor that can be attached to the human skin. They verified the reusability of the sensor by performing attachment and detachment tests. They also confirmed that the physical adhesion of the Ca-modified silk facilitates its reusability and possesses high peel strength. Calcium ions adopted in silk fibroins serve to capture water and enhance the cohesion force through metal chelation. Therefore, this endows viscoelasticity to previously a firm silk fibroin. This modified silk fibroin exhibits strong viscoelasticity and strong adhesiveness when physically attached to the human skin and various polymer substrates. Their developed silk adhesive is reusable, water-degradable, biocompatible, and conductive. Furthermore, they tested the stretchability of the silk adhesive on bladder tissue. Although it is not an epidermal skin, bladder tissue is highly stretchable. Hence, it is a perfect target to measure the resistance-strain characteristic of the silk adhesive. When the bladder tissue was stretched, the resistive strain epidermal sensor corresponded to the tensile strain.center_img Showing high biocompatibility, the silk adhesive is suitable for interfacing with the human skin for a long period of time. Therefore, it can also be applied to a drug delivery epidermal system as well as an electrocardiogram (ECG) epidermal sensor.   Recently, biocompatible silk fibroins has been increasingly used for flexible substrates and water-soluble sacrificial layers because they allow structural modifications and are biodegradable. From previous studies, the team discovered the adhesive properties of silk fibroin via metal chelate bonding and the water-capturing of Ca ions. Professor Lee said, “We are opening up a novel use for silk by developing reusable and biodegradable silk adhesive using biocompatible silk fibroin. This technology will contribute to the development of next-generation epidermal electronics as well as drug delivery systems.Source: https://www.kaist.ac.kr/_prog/_board/?mode=V&no=88901&code=ed_news&site_dvs_cd=en&menu_dvs_cd=060101&list_typ=B&skey=&sval=&smonth=&site_dvs=&GotoPage=last_img read more

Researchers learn more about reducing noise in tire systems by altering belt

Citation: Researchers learn more about reducing noise in tire systems by altering belt structure (2018, February 27) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-noise-belt.html The research article Study of the Influence of Tire Belt Structure on Vibration Noise focuses on an analysis of the influence of the belt structure on tire vibration and noise keeping in view the relevant physical laws. The TBR 295/80R22.5 tire was selected for this study, and the effects of the width and angle of the belt on the vibration noise were studied using the Modal Acoustic Transfer Vector (MATV) technique and the Boundary Element Method (BEM). The results indicate that tire belt structure has considerable effect on vibration noise. When the belt structure was optimized, vibration noise declined by 7.55 dB, the vibration noise sound pressure peak shifted to a higher frequency, and the acceleration peaks of the tread and sidewall decreased. The influence of the belt structure on the acceleration of the tread was mainly reflected in the middle-frequency band; however, for the sidewalls in the high-frequency band, the fluctuation and peak of the optimized excitation force spectrum, especially the 440-Hz power spectrum, decreased considerably.This study reveals the influence of belt structure parameters on the vibration noise. The finding in this paper provides a theoretical basis for the development of low-noise tires in the future. Does the urban morphology have influence on the noise levels provoked by aircrafts? More information: Haichao Zhou et al, Study of the Influence of Tire Belt Structure on Vibration Noise, Recent Patents on Mechanical Engineering (2017). DOI: 10.2174/2212797610666170817095107 Explore further In recent years, the knowledge about the influence of tire noise on vehicle noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) has increased. Hence, studies have focused on tire noise. Provided by Bentham Science Publishers This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Leaked chats show alleged Russian spy seeking hacking tools

first_img © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Six years ago, a Russian-speaking cybersecurity researcher received an unsolicited email from Kate S. Milton. Messages sent by the AP to Kate S. Milton’s Gmail account were not returned.The exchanges between Milton (Yermakov) and the researcher could be read in different ways.They might show that the GRU was trying to cultivate people in the information security community with an eye toward getting the latest exploits as soon as possible, said Cosimo Mortola, a threat intelligence analyst at the cybersecurity company FireEye.It’s also possible that Yermakov might have initially worked as an independent hacker, hustling for spy tools before being hired by Russian military intelligence—a theory that makes sense to defense and foreign policy analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.”For cyber, you have to hire boys that understand computers and everything the old spies at the GRU don’t understand,” Felgenhauer said. “You find a good hacker, you recruit him and give him some training and a rank—a lieutenant or something—and then he will do the same stuff.”___The leak of Milton’s conversations shows how the glare of publicity is revealing elements of the hackers’ methods—and perhaps even hints about their private lives.It’s possible, for example, that Yermakov and many of his colleagues commute to work through the arched entrance to Komsomolsky 22, a military base in the heart of Moscow that serves as home to the alleged hacker’s Unit 26165. Photos shot from inside show it’s a well-kept facility, with a czarist-era facade, manicured lawns, flower beds and shady trees in a central courtyard.The AP and others have tried to trace the men’s digital lives, finding references to some of those indicted by the FBI in academic papers on computing and mathematics, on Russian cybersecurity conference attendee lists or—in the case of Cpt. Nikolay Kozachek, nicknamed “kazak”—written into the malicious code created by Fancy Bear, the nickname long applied to the hacking squad before their identities were allegedly revealed by the FBI. This Tuesday, July 31, 2018 photo shows the entrance of the building of the Russian military intelligence service, named in Robert Mueller’s July 13 indictment, as home to GRU Unit 26165 in Moscow, Russia. The leak of an alleged Russian hacker’s conversations with a security researcher shows more about the shadowy group of 12 Russian spies indicted by the FBI last month for targeting the 2016 U.S. election. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) This May 14, 2018, photo shows a poster inside the Russian military base in Moscow named in Robert Mueller’s July 13 indictment against 12 Russians spies. Leaked of email conversations between a security researcher and one of the people in the indictment, Ivan Yermakov, who’s Unit 26165 was located at the base, reveal new insights about the shadowy group of the spies accused of breaking into the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. (AP Photo) The pair corresponded for a while. Milton shared a piece of malicious code at one point and sent over a hacking-related YouTube video at another, but contact fizzled out after a few months.Then, the following year, Milton got back in touch.”It’s been all work, work, work,” Milton said by way of apology, before quickly getting to the point. She needed new lock picks.”I know that you can help,” she wrote. “I’m working on a new project and I really need contacts that can provide information or have contacts with people who have new exploits. I am willing to pay for them.”In particular, Milton said she wanted information on a recently disclosed vulnerability codenamed CVE-2012-0002 – a critical Microsoft flaw that could allow hackers to remotely compromise some Windows computers. Milton had heard that someone had already cobbled together a working exploit.”I’d like to get it,” she said. In this file photo taken on Saturday, July 14, 2018, a man walks past the building of the Russian military intelligence service in Moscow, Russia. The leak of an alleged Russian hacker’s conversations with a security researcher shows more about the shadowy group of 12 Russian spies indicted by the FBI last month for targeting the 2016 U.S. election. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File) More information: The exchanges between the cybersecurity researcher and Kate S. Milton are available here: www.documentcloud.org/document … -S-Milton-Chats.html ___It isn’t unusual for messages like Milton’s to come in out of the blue, especially in the relatively small world of independent malware analysts.”There was nothing particularly unusual in her approach,” the researcher said. “I had very similar interactions with amateur and professional researchers from different countries.” Milton claimed to work for the Moscow-based anti-virus firm Kaspersky. In an exchange that began in halting English and quickly switched to Russian, Milton said she was impressed by the researcher’s work on exploits—the digital lock picks used by hackers to break into vulnerable systems—and wanted to be copied in on any new ones that the researcher came across.”You almost always have all the top-end exploits,” Milton said, after complimenting the researcher about a post to her website, where she often dissected malicious software.”So that our contact isn’t one-sided, I’d offer you my help analyzing malicious viruses, and as I get new samples I’ll share,” Milton continued. “What do you think?”The researcher—who works as a security engineer and runs the malware-sharing site on the side—always had a pretty good idea that Milton wasn’t who she said she was. Last month, she got confirmation via an FBI indictment.The indictment , made public on July 13, lifted the lid on the Russian hacking operation that targeted the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It identified “Kate S. Milton” as an alias for military intelligence officer Ivan Yermakov, one of 12 Russian spies accused of breaking into the Democratic National Committee and publishing its emails in an attempt to influence the 2016 election.The researcher, who gave her exchanges with Milton to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said she wasn’t pleased to learn she had been corresponding with an alleged Russian spy. But she wasn’t particularly surprised either.”This area of research is a magnet for suspicious people,” she said.The researcher and Milton engaged in a handful of conversations between April 2011 and March 2012. But even their sparse exchanges, along with a few digital breadcrumbs left behind by Yermakov and his colleagues, offer insight into the men behind the keyboards at Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU.center_img This photo taken on Monday, May 14, 2018, a view inside the Russian military base at 20, Komsomolsky Prospect, named in Robert Mueller’s July 13 indictment. The leak of an alleged Russian hacker’s conversations with a security researcher shows how the glare of publicity is the shadowy group indicted by the FBI into focus. (AP Photo) One of Kozachek’s other nicknames also appears on a website that allowed users to mine tokens for new weapons to use in the first-person shooter videogame “Counter Strike: Global Offensive”—providing a flavor of the hackers’ extracurricular interests.The AP has also uncovered several social media profiles tied to another of Yermakov’s indicted colleagues—Lt. Aleksey Lukashev, allegedly the man behind the successful phishing of the email account belonging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.Lukashev operated a Twitter account under the alias “Den Katenberg,” according to an analysis of the indictment as well as data supplied by the cybersecurity firm Secureworks and Twitter’s “Find My Friends” feature.A tipster using the Russian facial recognition search engine FindFace recently pointed the AP to a VKontatke account that, while using a different name, appears active and features photos of the same young, Slavic-looking man.Many of his posts and his friends appear to originate from a district outside Moscow known as Voskresensky. The photos show him cross-country skiing at night, wading in emerald waters somewhere warm and visiting Yaroslavl, an ancient city northwest of Moscow. One video appeared to show Russia’s 2017 Spasskaya Tower Festival, a military music festival popular with officers.The AP could not establish with certainty that the man on the VKontatke account is Lukashev. Several people listed as friends either declined to comment when approached by the AP or said Lukashev’s name was unknown to them.Shortly thereafter, the profile’s owner locked down his account, making his vacation snaps invisible to outsiders. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Flu shot won’t make you spread more influenza In this photo taken on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, a view shows a building of the Russian military intelligence service, located at 22 Kirova Street, Khimki, which was named in an indictment announced by a U.S. federal grand jury as part of a probe into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia. The leak of an alleged Russian hacker’s conversations with a security researcher shows more about the shadowy group of 12 Russian spies indicted by the FBI last month for targeting the 2016 U.S. election. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) Citation: Leaked chats show alleged Russian spy seeking hacking tools (2018, August 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-leaked-chats-alleged-russian-spy.html The researcher demurred. The trade in exploits—for use by spies, cops, surveillance companies or criminals—can be a seedy one.”I usually steer clear from any wannabe buyers and sellers,” she told the AP.She politely declined – and never heard from Milton again.___Milton’s Twitter account—whose profile photo features “Lost” star Evangeline Lilly—is long dormant. The last few messages carry urgent, awkwardly worded appeals for exploits or tips about vulnerabilities.”Help me find detailed description CVE-2011-0978,” one message reads, referring to a bug in PHP, a coding language often used for websites. “Need a work exploit,” the message continues, ending with a smiley face.It isn’t clear whether Yermakov was working for the GRU when he first masqueraded as Kate S. Milton. Milton’s Twitter silence—starting in 2011—and the reference to a “new project” in 2012 might hint at a new job.In any case, Yermakov wasn’t working for the anti-virus firm Kaspersky—not then and not ever, the company said in a statement.”We don’t know why he allegedly presented himself as an employee,” the statement said.last_img read more