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Big Trouble In Little Goldman's VPN Firewall (Or NYT's Editorial Department)?

Tyler Durden's picture




 

This evening's latest NYT Story-Morgenson Joint Venture story about Goldman beats a well-beaten drum: the question, which has been discussed extensively on Zero Hedge and elsewhere before, of just how ridiculous and ludicrous is the notion, used by Goldman in both Congress and before the SEC, that Fabrice Tourre, then a midlevel 28 year old whose story has been told millions of times, worked completely and entirely alone when perpetrating the Abacus CDO "transgression" (for which Goldman neither admitted nor denied guilt). Obviously this is such BS that nobody but an entity as entitled (and for the implications of perceived infinite self-entitlement look no further than DSK or David Sokol) as Goldman (and hence the SEC which needs Goldman for future employment prospects) could possibly believe it. There is however, a link in the story that is so weak, that it raises extensive questions about either the credibility of the entire narrative, or the complete worthlessness of Goldman's IT security and VPN firewall, two possibilities that demand further inquiry.

Here is the relevant extract from the NYT article:

In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.”

So far so good. But here is where it gets downright ridiculous:

These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.

The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

So let's get this straight: someone, i.e., Ms. Cohen's friend, found one (supposedly corporate) notebook belonging to Tourre, back in 2006, "discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building." Not only was this notebook in perfect working order, but somehow, and anyone who has ever worked in investment banking can attest to this, had a permanent VPN connection, something that all who have enjoyed inputting Securicard ID codes at each and every login attempt, know is impossible, to Goldman's primary email server. In addition, it held in its buffer's Tourre's email password for not one, not two, but at least three years, something that is contrary to FINRA regulations which at last check require banks to force employees to change their email password at least once a year. Lastly, Ms. Cohen somehow had parallel access to Tourre's emails even as he had access on at least one other offsite terminal: an event that would have set off every possible red flag in even the simplest VPN network (and trust us, Goldman has a VPN...it is also very, very well encrypted).

In summary - we call total bullshit on this story.

Which begs the question: what is really going on here? Well, since the premise of the NYT story is to present the now firewalled publication as having access to non-public emails that expose other Goldman employees in Tourre-gate ("In addition to Mr. Egol, they included David Gerst, a securities lawyer in the Abacus group and Darren Littlejohn, another lawyer at Goldman who worked on the deal; Cactus Raazi and Gail Kreitman, sales representatives; Shin Yukawa, a credit ratings specialist; and others" - there is Ms. Kreitman again... the same Ms. Kreitman (and her husband) whom we wrote about a year ago, and who was mysteriously fired long before the Tourre affair) we can only surmise that this is nothing short of the smoking gun that somehow is supposed to hold in it the secrets that could put the Goldman civil (and criminal case) back front and center (We also ignore the fact that attorney-client privilege, which is the key source of information in the NYT article, tends to be the most sacred Non-Disclosure source of information which even reporters are leery of breaking).

We therefore wonder: is the NYT now being used as a conduit through which to build the criminal case against Goldman (which, make no mistake, is about to hit the news any minute) using purposefully leaked smoking guns. On the other hand, the alternative is just as disturbing. Assuming there is no ulterior motive, one wonders: just how secure is Goldman's firewall from the external world. If a random woman can find a jettisoned laptop and use it to access confidential emails for several years, we would venture to guess: not very. In which case the question becomes: just how many (hundreds, thousands?) of people have parallel knowledge of all the latest happenings at the 200 West headquartered firm?

h/t Manal Mehta

 

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Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:00 | 1327578 surfersd
surfersd's picture

One has to wonder how these stories with Goldman as a central character continue to crop up. Will there ever be  a time when one of the actual decision makers is actually held accountable? 

I imagine the time when shit really hits the fan and oil is trading at $200, beans are through the teens and we get the story that Goldman announces record bonuses again because of their commodity trading profits.

I can see then the masses north of Chambers St. finally say enough and come down for some banker ass kicking. I would like to be sitting at Ecco having a Chianti and watch those with the torches heading towards the squids headquarters.

 

 

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:08 | 1327588 Gold...Bitches
Gold...Bitches's picture

Will there ever be  a time when one of the actual decision makers is actually held accountable? 

 

No.  Not so long as the current political system is in place.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:35 | 1327642 rocker
rocker's picture

+1000  Will there ever be a time when GS employees are banned from Government and the banking Cartel called the FED.

I will say this. As reported by ZH, two high worth investors have just told us what the plan is. We "Will" have another financial crisis and crash because the financial problems from the first round have not been resolved.

I have said this and it is worth articulating again. All that money the FED dumped into the system will go bye-bye again. Simply amazing how these people remain in power and control of our government and financial system. How many suckers will eat this again. They are already talking about bailouts for U.S. banks again.  WHY ???  Because TPTB plan on taking all that money out of the markets again.

When is rich, rich enough ???  Don't they any compassion for the country they live in ???

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:41 | 1327650 I am a Man I am...
I am a Man I am Forty's picture

they blow a bubble, skim off the top, and crash it, rinse and repeat until people are thrown in jail

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 04:20 | 1327787 Michael
Michael's picture

THE FEDERAL RESERVE IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL!

WHY IS THIS NOT THE #1 BUMPER STICKER IN AMERICA?

WHY IS THIS NOT ZERO HEDGE'S MOTTO?

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:05 | 1327586 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Well of course I believe the story--ah, mmmm, my boss is the U.S. Attorney General and he believes it too. Rots of Ruck Buckroo.       Milestones

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:09 | 1327591 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

Tourre, then a midlevel 28 year old whose story has been told millions of times, worked completely and entirely alone when perpetrating the Abacus CDO "transgression" = implausible undeniability.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:35 | 1327643 Sokhmate
Sokhmate's picture

"implausible undeniability" I like double negatives. Adding to personal dictionary.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:07 | 1327593 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

Seriously.

A non wiped hard drive, a non password protected email account on a discarded computer of a Goldman employee.?

A mid-level Wall Street douche who is non going to be the fall guy for the fraud that was the securitization process circa 2002-2007?

This is the best the SEC can do? $1B of taxpayer dollars a year.

Wow is this desperate.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:23 | 1327620 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

If they want GS they'll get 'em.  Think Al Capone.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 03:59 | 1327758 BorisTheBlade
BorisTheBlade's picture

GS has already got away with things Al Capone could never even dream of - upside of being institution important to financial system well-being. Separate (and long) discussion is why financial system is so full of fraud that exposing fraud undermines its stability.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 10:13 | 1328373 riley martini
riley martini's picture

  If they follow the money to far they would expose to many dirty politicians, some members of Oblamers Cabinet picked by Goldman. The only reason the NYT is running the story is  dirty politicians want more of the stolen money = shake down.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:17 | 1327595 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

I am amazed that either a) a tsunami of investor lawsuits has not been filed against Goldman Sachs, particular credit ratings agencies (who 'upgraded' inferior assets as investment grade) and other entities and individuals involved in the establishment, registration of sale, marketing and ultimate sale of Abacus, Timberwolf, Hudson & Anderson (and similar 'investment products'), and/or b) to the extent that such a tsunami of lawsuits have been filed, these lawsuits have not been reported on and discussed at length by/in main stream media sources.

Are arbitration clauses at work here, alongside confidentiality clauses?

I fail to see how every competent and aggressive litigator having experience in securities litigation isn't salivating over what would appear to be cases ripe with relatively easily proven  civil liability and collectible and large damages written all over them.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 03:05 | 1327735 gezza65
gezza65's picture

Basis had their face ripped off in that Timberwolf deal and are suing.

 

http://basiscap.com.au/documents/announcements/BYAF_Investor_Update_27Apr11.pdf

 

 

 

 

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:16 | 1327609 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

Big Trouble Dept (?)/OT:  is this the ravishing blythe taking over 100,000 oz of gold down, tomorrow?  DJ Comex Gold Delivery Intentions Breakdown - May 31 

wow!  almost 2,000 contracts of gold being delivered! 

here's the silver, too:  DJ Comex Silver Delivery Intentions Breakdown - May 31

start of the new month!  here's the warehouse stocks for the PMs: DJ Comex Gold And Silver Warehouse Stocks - May 31

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 01:30 | 1327682 Selah
Selah's picture

 

JPM is taking delivery of most of them. Read more about how it works:

http://about.ag/futures.htm

This is a really good read for newbies (not saying that you are... I had to look this up to understand your post)

 

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:17 | 1327612 Osmium
Osmium's picture


“The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building.”

 

What kind of friends does she have?  The guy was dumpster diving?

 

 

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 03:02 | 1327731 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

She's a cum dumpster so he was masturbating before the date? Wait give me a chance. I know I can make this work on some kind of logical level.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:18 | 1327617 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

This is all about cybernet security. All government run functions do not run on the public internet. CNBC, hacker stories, and the new internet laws all play into their new vision.

The joke is on the propaganda machine. In days ahead, the other computer system controlling the government will be explained in detail. The cyber threat will be revealed as for what it is. Another..Epic failure.

 

 

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:28 | 1327629 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

I don't understand your claim.

Are you predicting that the enclosed network by which the U.S. government and its agencies communicate has been breached, and furthermore, that there's going to be some type of revelation about the content of communications conveyed via that enclosed network?

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 08:02 | 1327936 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

I don't know what he's talking about either. But I do know BIS has been hacked more times than a bates motel room shower curtain.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:30 | 1327632 SilverDoctors
SilverDoctors's picture

Sounds like The Morgue is hungry after its Bear Stearns meal, time to devour another competitor...need some funds for our bleeding short silver fund after all!

http://www.silverdoctors.com/

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:29 | 1327634 XPolemic
XPolemic's picture

I.T. Security failure - check

Compliance failure - check

Rogue employee - check

1 Trillion filched - check

Cool story bro' !

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:34 | 1327641 buzzsaw99
Wed, 06/01/2011 - 00:44 | 1327652 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

I commented on this story at the NYT's voicing my skepticism, about the "smoking gun" computer.

I merely asked how does the discarded computer of a Goldman employee, that has a non wiped hard drive, non password protected email address find its way into the hands of a 3rd party who subsequently turns it over to the NYT's.

Oddly the NYT's choose NOT to publish my comment (i guess they couldn't handle one person questioning the viability of the evidence that formed the basis of their story). Meaning i was spot on in my skepticism.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 01:10 | 1327666 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

I agree that this one moron single handedly masterminded the entire mortgage securitization meltdown. Don't you? 

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 01:09 | 1327670 pitz
pitz's picture

These guys certainly weren't hiring the 'best of the best' when it came to IT.  Most often, they're hire at the lower ends of the classes, or simply outsource to and/or use incompetent H1-B firms from India. 

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 01:37 | 1327687 jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

Looks like alot of people got some Egg Shen on their faces.  Or is that cream of.....

Wow just imagine the number of convictions if that laptop was given to the SEC? Oh yeah, still zero.  (although I'm sure one of the sec supermen would have enjoyed free roaming midget porn)

My guess is that someone didn't want to be 'wikileak'd' and made up the story to protect the whistleblower (or on their request).

 

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 02:21 | 1327710 SheHunter
SheHunter's picture

JPM just upgraded GS to a buy with a 170 something target..do I smell a short?

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 02:45 | 1327722 SunBlaster
SunBlaster's picture

LAWL, chances of what is being described to actually occur are astronomically low. So low that if it truly happened, than you can expect that any Wi-Fi device found in any downtown of any city in North America will be 100% operational, will not require a AC adapter to operate, will have 100% battery charge that doesn't deplete, and will promptly receive email from Goldman employee to inform you on the exact date of next QE!

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 02:47 | 1327723 SunBlaster
SunBlaster's picture

LAWL, chances of what is being described to actually occur are astronomically low. So low that if it truly happened, than you can expect that any Wi-Fi device found in any downtown of any city in North America will be 100% operational, will not require a AC adapter to operate, will have 100% battery charge that doesn't deplete, and will promptly receive email from Goldman employee to inform you on the exact date of next QE!

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 03:05 | 1327734 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Let me guess they used sonic wall and the horn of jericho blew while Shooting Blankstein was doing god's work.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 03:12 | 1327737 TonyForesta
TonyForesta's picture

Searing post by rocker .   There will be a reckoning and a balancing.   Profiteering is one thing, - ruthless, heartless, psychopathic disregard for your fellow Americans is something entirely different.  The predatorclass has gone insane.  Delirious with the toxic unctions of greed and power, and imponderable wealth.   To imagine that the rest of us plebes will accept or tolerate this ruthless criminal behavior is absurd.   In a world where there are not laws, - there are no laws for anyone predatorclass biiiiiaaaatches!!!   Buckleup, and put your trays in the upright and fixed position,  - we're about to enter some turbulence!!!

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 04:23 | 1327797 Number 156
Number 156's picture

I second the charge of BS.

I work in an IT dept. Its possible for me to make a laptop do anything on boot-up, I can script it to start any application or Log in to any connection automatically, but in practice, I would never ever do anything like that, and I dont know anyone who would.

Besides, if its running windows, I doubt it can stay running for that long without getting crippled by a virus, freezing up, or going BSOD at some point. We use those recovery CD's all the time.

Windows sucks.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 05:10 | 1327821 Ungaro
Ungaro's picture

Old, but oh so timely...

I harken back to the good old days when people used to rob banks, not the other way around.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 06:32 | 1327852 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

Fab Fab is one pissed off Frog.  The Goldman supplied attorney sold him down the river and isolated the problem at the same time.  Who can blame Fab for getting the story out via planting the smoking gun lap top?  We now know Fab has 3 friends:  one garbage picker, one artist and one Goldman IT geek.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 06:32 | 1327854 ??
??'s picture

Why pray tell do you find this so difficult to believe?  I mean if they could find one of the 9/11 hijacker's passports 5 days after the planes hit:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/16/us/after-attacks-investigation-fbi-was...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/passport-of-suspected-h...

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 07:04 | 1327867 dcb
dcb's picture

didn't read the story and will later.

1) business Vs. private info. did the e-mails in question gp over the goldman network. I would have used yahoo between friends and kept the nasty stuff out of the corporate network

2) personal Vs. business computers?

any chance on the above two.

anyone with half a brain realizes these firewalls exist only in someone's mind. not in reality. you can't stop two work associates hanging out in a bar after work having drinks or down at the hamptons. one of the major reasons to break up these firms.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 07:38 | 1327891 ??
??'s picture

yahoo leaves a trail, which is why I prefer gmail (notwithstanding that google servers will store the content for eternity)

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 07:07 | 1327868 dcb
dcb's picture

didn't read the story and will later.

1) business Vs. private info. did the e-mails in question gp over the goldman network. I would have used yahoo between friends and kept the nasty stuff out of the corporate network

2) personal Vs. business computers?

any chance on the above two.

anyone with half a brain realizes these firewalls exist only in someone's mind. not in reality. you can't stop two work associates hanging out in a bar after work having drinks or down at the hamptons. one of the major reasons to break up these firms.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 07:04 | 1327869 dcb
dcb's picture

didn't read the story and will later.

1) business Vs. private info. did the e-mails in question gp over the goldman network. I would have used yahoo between friends and kept the nasty stuff out of the corporate network

2) personal Vs. business computers?

any chance on the above two.

anyone with half a brain realizes these firewalls exist only in someone's mind. not in reality. you can't stop two work associates hanging out in a bar after work having drinks or down at the hamptons. one of the major reasons to break up these firms.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 07:05 | 1327870 dcb
dcb's picture

didn't read the story and will later.

1) business Vs. private info. did the e-mails in question gp over the goldman network. I would have used yahoo between friends and kept the nasty stuff out of the corporate network

2) personal Vs. business computers?

any chance on the above two.

anyone with half a brain realizes these firewalls exist only in someone's mind. not in reality. you can't stop two work associates hanging out in a bar after work having drinks or down at the hamptons. one of the major reasons to break up these firms.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 07:40 | 1327892 spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

Words to live by....

Just remember what old Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, the poison arrows fall from the sky and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big old storm right in the eye and says "Give me your best shot. I can take it."

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 08:00 | 1327926 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Well there's the hell of the timberwolf.

The hell of the faked audit of iShares.

The hell of the MERS.

The hell of the congressional purgery.

The goldman sachs has a lot of hells.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 09:35 | 1328201 spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

Looks like their 6 demon bag is turning on them.

Jack Burton: Hey, what more can a guy ask for?
Egg Shen: Oh, the six-demon bag!
Jack Burton: Terrific, a six-demon bag. Sensational. What's in it, Egg?
Egg Shen: Wind, fire, all that kind of thing!

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 07:46 | 1327902 dcb
dcb's picture

hello folks, the source may in fact the the Fab himself tired of being the fall guy, and the part in the times may ring true to what was told to the reporter.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 08:07 | 1327947 TheEternalTriangle
TheEternalTriangle's picture

If it isn't a conspiracy then I can think of one other way she could have been receiving these e-mails. In a different type tof IT security failure Tourre could have set up an e-mail forward to a non-Goldman address and the computer she has Has got it's outlook or equivalent set up for that address.

In a way if you work in a sensitive environment for a company you don't really trust having your own back up paper trail could become very attractive. Of course you would risk getting sacked for keeping it...

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 08:49 | 1328057 TaxSlave
TaxSlave's picture

The successful IT tech gives the executive what he wants.  If that means he wants to read his emails from multiple computers without a bunch of hassle, the executive gets an auto-logon to an IMAP account and a disabled password change requirement (one line in a script).  Could it happen?  You bet.  Neither the executive nor the IT tech cares about info security.  The executive wants convenience despite any risk, and the tech knows the organization would flush him without a second thought if he made usage inconvenient.  The bureaucracy imposes inconvenience officially but then punishes the serfs who are supposed to enforce it, so it doesn't get enforced.  The bureaucracy has not the time nor the expertise to audit whether real security is in place, and it will not care about it until a major catastrophe happens, after which the buckets of whitewash will come out.  It is too big a (non-productive) job to patch thousands of leaks, and so it will not be done.

And even in 2005/6 any tech worth half his paycheck would take 15 minutes to render Winbloze secure and stable.  A little local security through obscurity goes a long way towards protecting an unimportant laptop (meaning, an attacker would have to know specifically what kinds of protections are in place in order to breach it).

IT techs who openly state that they use restore disks a lot should count themselves lucky that their customers are even more ignorant than they are.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 09:44 | 1328230 tradewithdave
tradewithdave's picture

I never liked Febreze.  They say it eliminates odors.  I think it just covers them up and they come back later to bite you.  On the possibility of finding a functioning Goldman Sachs I-banker laptop in a dumpster in Manhattan?... you wouldn't think a great white shark would go through the side of a building in Ocean City, Maryland or that Mermaids would be spotted off Coney Island either, but its true. 

http://tradewithdave.com/?p=6650

Dave Harrison

www.tradewithdave.com

 

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 09:58 | 1328283 That Peak Oil Guy
That Peak Oil Guy's picture

Agreed that this sounds like BS, but I should point out that Outlook has a method for attaching to the corporate Exchange server over HTTPS.  So you don't need a VPN active to get your email over an encrypted connection.  If the Outlook client has the login saved then just opening Outlook will make the connection.  Still have to get through the local Windows login, though.

GS probably does not use this feature, but it is possible.

TPOG

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 10:04 | 1328314 riley martini
riley martini's picture

 Goldman and Moodys were sued by King County Wa. even though the fore mentionrd criminals used a foriegn bank that created shell LLC to sell the fraud to the King County tax payers .

 Shell LLCs of the German Bank IDK were Rhineland and Rhinebridge LLC . ie "Loose Hedge Funf Managers"

 It seems to be a common pratice for Goldman to use forgien criminals to defraud US citizens . Goldman and BP are being sued for teaming up and defrauding a Tulsa OK. Oil  Company.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 16:00 | 1330017 nonplused
nonplused's picture

It's a frame-up!

Thu, 06/02/2011 - 07:41 | 1331735 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Since SecurID tokens, VPN tunneling, and firewalls have all been standard practice SINCE THE LAST MILLENIUM, and Goldman's IT department is entirely staffed with troglodytes, why didn't Sergey Aleynikov just save the "super secret GS market manipulation code" as a draft in his yahoo account as a means of exporting it?

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