What Ben Rachinger showed me, then wanted $5,000 for information that didn’t exist

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What Ben Rachinger showed me, then wanted $5,000 for information that didn’t exist

Following on from my media statement earlier today, this article will disclose some of the files and information that Ben Rachinger provided as “samples” of the information he claimed to have obtained from The Standard by non-public means.

I realise, in the cold light of day, I fell for the obvious.  But then I was in a deep deep hole at the time.  It dents your pride to be shown such a fool by someone else.  Especially when on a normal day I am so much smarter than that.  

Ben offered a number of “file notes”, screenshots and apparently encrypted files.  These were intended to get me excited enough to part with money to see the rest.  

In hindsight, I’m not actually sure what Ben had in mind had we truly completed the transaction.  In fact, looking back, it appears he never intended to do the transaction.  It was sufficient for him to trap me into the conversation about paying for it.  That done, he could back out.

It appears to me that he believed he managed to stay on the right side of the law.  After all, he hadn’t actually done any hacking, and the $5,000 payment was never made, so he felt he had just managed to get me in trouble while keeping himself on the right side of the law.

Additionally, he believed to be carrying out his tasks under instruction and supervision of Police.

It could explain his Not Guilty plea.  Unfortunately for him, it appears he too tripped past the point where he broke the law by using fraudulent documents expressly created for the purpose to entrap me into a crime.  In fact, as you’ll see below, he admits on paper to having accessed information on The Standard through scamming its owner Lynne Prentice.

 

 

The documents below may seem to be poor.  And it must be remembered that I didn’t actually fall for them.  I was immediately suspicious and demanded to see more.  I demanded to have the decryption keys.  None of those were forthcoming.

But Ben had steered the conversation to wanting payment.  This is where both he and I got ourselves in trouble.  

I had been paying Ben for other work up to that point, and he claimed over and over again that he had financial hardship, so the pressure to pay more continued.  This was separate from the $5,000 sum he eventually asked for in exchange for the data he “held” due to his non-public access to The Standard data.

If you have seen my public statement from earlier today, you will by now be aware what kind of head space I was in.  And based on the sort of work Ben and I had been doing together, which I will outline in more detail in my future articles, it was completely normal for me to receive information from Ben, and Ben asking for more money at regular intervals.

Sample 1

Sample 1

If you don’t know what you’re looking at, you’re in good company.  The image above was offered as an example of a file taken from The Standard by Ben.  It supposedly holds encrypted information.  Ben didn’t provide the decryption key, so I could never ascertain if it really was an encrypted file, or just some random pixels created in Photoshop.

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The above is one half of an organisational chart sent to me by Ben.  It outlines the relationship between the NZ Labour Party, interested activists, a journalist and The Standard.   Here’s the other half

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This outlines the funding and the way that a trust is used to hide the true funders of The Standard.

It may be a complete fantasy.  It can be based on truth.  It may be the truth.   But I’ll never know, because that’s what Ben provided, and both Ben and The Standard’s owner Lynne Prentice claim there was no hack after all, so I suspect the above was probably created just to entrap me and defraud me out of some cash.

Ben also sent screenshots of notes he made as he was “hacking”.  Apparently, the same server that hosts thestandard.org.nz also works for ret.labour.co.nz.    And Ben also says he holds bank records for The Standard Trust.

60521423030900494

As you can see, his intention was to convince me that he had access to information that wasn’t generally speaking public information, and was telling me this was coming from The Standard.

And here is the smoking gun:  Ben Rachinger admits, in writing, that he’s accessed The Standard through spear fishing LPrent (Lynne Prentice, the owner/operator of The Standard).  Spear Fishing is a social engineering method to get access to a computer.  “Accessed website” is clear admission someone accessed a computer without permission.  Personally, I’m not sure why he wasn’t charged for that, and is only facing a low level fraud charge.

 

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Ben continued to write “reports” for me, none of which actually held anything real.   But they did manage to keep me hooked.

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and

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Note the specific language.  36 emails.  That’s specific.  But no list, not a single email, or any email.

I would like to take a moment to point out, once again, that my intent was to discover if there were formal Labour Party links to The Standard, financially or in kind.  I did not want to destroy it, I did not want to corrupt it, I did not want to eavesdrop.   All I wanted was confirmation that they were donkey deep in Dirty Politics.  I didn’t ask for data dumps, I didn’t ask for emails to be stolen.  All I wanted was enough proof to take to the public to show The Standard, Labour, media, activists and Hager were connected and responsible for hacking me, and running the Dirty Politics scam.

 

Ultimately, it was the poor quality of these “samples” that became the turning point of everything.   None of this actually contained anything useful, and very little was non-public.  None of the made up stuff was of course verifiable.

I didn’t believe these were real or represented items Ben had “hacked”, although I wanted them to be real, so I demanded to see more of what Ben supposedly held.   And he wouldn’t show me more unless I paid up the money he demanded.  I now believe there never was anything more for Ben to hand over.

The above are just some samples.  I can show you some encrypted gobbledygook he claimed was an encrypted file from The Standard, and some other bits and pieces, but it may as well be anything.

 

I’m not entirely sure what Ben’s exit strategy was.  If all this was a planned hit to destroy me right from the beginning, his entrapment just came to an end, and he could start his public stage by going to the media and releasing screeds of cherry picked information on the Internet.  The media, bloggers and my political opponents feasted on these, and for a little while, Ben was quite the cause celebre, the man that finally took that scumbag Slater down.

If Ben had been genuine up to that point, something turned him.  And then he needed to find a way to explain away everything that he’d been doing.  Hence the elaborate story about infiltration, exposing and eventually revealing his true intentions all along with the backing of Police along the way.

In the next article, I will share some information with you that shows you either how very, very good Ben Rachinger was at hiding his true intentions all along the way, or, the fact that he was for a considerable amount of time part of Team Whaleoil by trying to unmask the real hacker that led to Dirty Politics.

That’s enough for you to absorb in one day.  More tomorrow morning.

 


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  • shakennotstirred

    Interesting that you were caught trying to solicit a crime and pleaded for name suppression? Exposed as a hypocrite. You’ve never given a toss about anyone else’s mental health or impact on their families when you get stuck into them on here – hypocritical w*anker!

  • I wonder how things are at the Newshub newsroom right now.

    • pisces8284

      Judging by how slow the WO site is I’m picking they are all reading it

    • Dave

      I wonder how any of the media newsrooms are in the current climate, Hager dumping TVNZ, and red radio in it with a dead story, the likelihood of a merger affecting the jobs of hundreds of churnalists at Stuff and Granny Herald, seems like the Dead Tree Media is in for a long overdue Pruning, removing the dead wood. Might be time for some fresh planting.

      • Whafe

        Pruning needed, full of bacterial canker, silver leaf etc etc

        • Michelle

          Total clean out by the sounds of it from top to bottom it is rotten to the core

    • Huia

      They probably have a whole carton of new underware for “them’s what need it”

    • Kapow!

      Just listened to Live news and their version of events is almost libellous

      • They might regret that on Thursday when the actions of one of their former staff are revealed.

    • JEL51

      Nothing more from the zb newsroom. I wonder why? ;)

    • Carl

      Well 3 news just went full retard on the story with Lisa Owen loving it.

      • They’ve gone all in, a decision they will regret in coming days.

  • Richard

    “he believed to be carrying out his tasks under instruction and supervision of Police.”

    Given that, for a time WO was working closely with Ben on this issue, was it not apparent for anyone to confirm with Police whether or not this relationship actually existed?

    • It existed. Proof exists. We hold it. It’s on the Internet. And generally accepted to be true.

      • Richard

        Then the law is well and truly an ass.
        So someone has pushed personally for a conviction on a technicality outside of the Police members who were collaborating on this?

        • As I understand the law around this, the charge of arranging to access a computer for dishonest purposes only carries a jail term up to two years and there is no room for interpretation.

          When you’re offered diversion or a lottery ticket with a jail sentence… what would you pick?

          This was technical breach at the absolutely lowest end of the scale. You couldn’t trip this law with any less of an effort.

        • metalnwood

          An ass and the irony that the person that nearly got a conviction was the person trying to get to the bottom of his own hack while the people involved sit there making money from it!

        • Rightsideofthebed

          If the Police didn’t prosecute Cam in this instance then if/when the hacker is caught then he would be able to shout from the roof of the Courthouse about how it was all a conspiracy and Cam was treated differently because of his National Party ties.

          My read is Cam made a very bad error of judgement, was caught out, but the exceptional circumstances in existence were taken into account – leading to the offer of diversion.

          • The involvement of the Police in the inveiglement might have helped too.

    • It did exist. I was the one who introduced him to the Police.

  • one for the road

    XYZ Holdings- where have we seen that before?
    Edit – typo

  • Murray Pratt

    Hang in there Cam, your doing a good job. It seems to me the left don’t like competition and if somebody from the right dears to use anything close to one of their dirty tools they cry murder. Imagine, just imagine if there was a right wing Hager. The way I see it the left have imploded and now we have to suffer their temper tantrums.

  • one for the road

    This headline from Stuff isnt very fair, makes it sound like it has just happened….

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/79023034/Cameron-Slater-in-court-for-trying-to-hire-hacker-to-attack-rival-site?

  • Boondecker

    Certainly reads now as a classic sting operation. One that was moderately successful too. Well, except for the stinger appears to have got himself caught as well.

  • sheppy

    Given that you mention above that he was part of team in Whaleoil for a while, I wonder if he had anything to do with you being hacked, either directly by doing it himself or by passing on information to those outside including how your information was held?
    Just a thought that may well be answered later. It must be good to finally get some of this out into the open!

    • Pretty certain he was involved in the hack.

  • Usaywot

    Betrayal is surely one of the most loathsome of crimes.

    • Was it betrayal or was it an ongoing sting that followed on from the half-baked hack / Dirty Politics / Whaledump?

      Join us, as we explore these questions, and more…

  • Whafe

    Cam, hold your head high and keep doing the great work. It is appreciated by far more than you may well think.

    The hypocrisy of the Left and the MSM knows no boundaries….

  • The Table

    Are you allowed to do that under the terms of your diversion?

    • Diversion isn’t probation. Diversion is where you must carry out a number of tasks. Once completed to the satisfaction of the court, the charge is dropped and the case dismissed. Legally, nothing happened, and nothing remains.

  • Huia

    Is anyone else having trouble with this site freezing and not being able to get on it when you want.
    Its being happening for about an hour for me.

    • Patricia

      The same is happening to me.

    • Whafe

      Would say it is share volume of traffic on the site in general.

    • Interesting. I’ve been monitoring and it has peaked at 55% busy, most of the time at 20-25%.

      Let’s go check the firewall to see if they are hitting that.

      • Huia

        Still happening Pete

        • Not for me.

          No attacks.

          Server running at 10-15% load

          It’s responding fine to me as a user.

          I can’t figure it out what you’re seeing. Hard to understand it when all I see is perfectly humming gear….

          • Michelle

            same trouble here it has slowed my computer down heaps and everything is running sluggishly
            l have re booted it but still the same and messages that shockwave has stopped etc

          • Gaynor

            Mine is fine .

    • The Fat Man

      Me to.

    • Old Dig

      Same here.

    • Any error messages? Anyone?

      • Carl

        “Shockwave Flash has crashed. Reload. Thats what comes up for me in a yellow message .

        • Michelle

          me to
          using chrome

        • KiwiLliz

          I’ve been having those exact same Shockwave notices too for the last 2 or 3 days when watching TVNZ On Demand. Only on Firefox & Chrome.

      • Lux

        I got an error 521

        and then a 520

    • Maisie

      Not having any probs here. Have just read both articles and very impressed Cam. Waiting for tomorrow. Go WO family

    • Can you tell me what type of computer you have, what browser you have

      • Rightsideofthebed

        On a PC running Google Chrome – have had the slow down and freezes – as well as 2 Flash crashes.

        • Since about 18:30 we’ve had some dick trying to DOS us via TOR (do you know what that means?) But that shouldn’t even matter as it’s going to require thousands of bots before that does anything.

          I have this horrible feeling the ad servers can’t keep up :

          • Rightsideofthebed

            I have enough of the basics to translate that to English thanks Pete.
            Might have to jump out as just had another flash crash and I’m multi tasking :)

          • Any chance you can try another browser for me, since you claim some expertise? :)

          • Rightsideofthebed

            Just tried through IE and seems all right. No slow down and haven’t had a flash crash since my last post

          • KiwiLliz

            No probs here with a relatively old laptop (ASUS bought 2012) & the latest IE.

      • sheppy

        Google Chrome has started crashing both on here and other pages in the last few days, that’s on Win7/64. It also crashes Firefox earlier I think due to an ad script on the media statement page.
        iPhone worked fine on the same page

        • sheppy

          Interestingly I’d loaded whatever was needed (shockwave or flash) into forefox to watch QT and it’d not crashed before in the couple of days I’ve had it loaded

  • Erm. He didn’t. He went down the road of paying for information he was told has been hacked. Small difference maybe, but it is important to us.

    • Jude

      ok sorry I misunderstood.

      • Nige.

        Unfortunately that is what they rely on. Newshub: Lisa Owen BLATANTLY saud the original dirty politics was cams emails were leaked. No they weren’t. They were scooped out with the mother of all ladles.

        Making people misunderstand is a key part of persuasive journalism.

        • Jude

          It is going to be a rough week. I think I might just sit tight here, there is so much misinformation out there!

        • Kev

          Wasn’t it a great coincidence she just happened to be outside the court as Cam was arriving?

        • Keeping Stock

          They were stolen from Cam via a hack, then leaked to Hager who purposefully left out everything that didn’t fit his anti-National, anti-Key narrative.

          • Nige.

            Zakly

  • Hakaru

    Yes, site is slowing down after a few minutes of viewing. Maybe lots of people coming to have a look.

  • phronesis

    I would say it wasn’t a pretty picture but that would be unfair.

  • [MOD] NOTICE: Lots of talk about the site being slow here. Once resolved, I will delete all those comments as they have absolutely no bearing on the article.

    • Carl

      Has been working great for the last 20 mins.

  • Michelle

    l see on trademe they are having a good slanging fest
    the nasty left are all in throwing wild claims all over the place

    It must feel great to talk about this and get it out in the open, lesser folk would have crumbled and walked away You are an amazing team
    Looking forward to more to come

    every cloud has a silver lining and you will no doubt have more coming over for a look especially after this latest Media party smear debacle

    • Bombastic

      I thought Trademe was where you bought other people’s tat. I didn’t realise that was also where you exchange the intellectual version for free.

      • Michelle

        Um not really intellectual mostly mud slinging and angry lefties with serious KDS
        I check into recipes for inspiration but that can even turn into a bun fight

        • Gaynor

          I look at the recipes as well .Browse the other boards but run off very quickly …

  • John D

    Thanks Cam for your full explanation of events– can totally understand your actions,My thoughts are with you and the team — The truth will out in the end and all the main players will be exposed and hopefully brought to justice

  • Kleinholz

    Cam (and the team), you have been preternaturally patient on this for longer than your followers have been able to understand. Now we understand.

    Yes it was a silly but understandable mis-step; more of a technicality than a crime and the police in this case could not really apply the discretion that would normally see the case dropped (for lack of a victim; absence of damage).

    The MSM’s comeuppance will be complete when its inevitable rationalisation unfolds over the coming 12-18 months. They started to lose their reason for being when they stopped reporting the news and started making it instead. The rot actually started to set in years ago when articles were bylined and ‘personalities’ started to develop. It turned into widespread carnage with the arrival of the net and the ability of people like the WO team to tell it as it is. Thanks a bunch. Kia kaha.

  • Bombastic

    You know, I’ve been reflecting on all of this and just asked myself, “what if this had happened to me?”

    Apart from the sense of a huge injustice, my career would be in tatters, my family life would have been put into such strain I doubt it would have prevailed and I would have felt the entire world was against me simply because of who I am and the political view I hold. Not actually having done anything “wrong”.

    Is that fair, just and reasonable?

    I can only think of one place I’ve visited were that would have been thought to be fair, just and reasonable.

    It was the Stasi Museum in Berlin.

  • AF

    Hey Cam, I used to do encryption using steganography and in particular image manipulation that resulted in images similar to the ‘encryption’ above. I can tell by looking at it that is fake – there is not a wide enough distribution of colours. It is not random, only apparently random.

  • I have no idea what processes when into the Police offering diversion. I asked if it was available and they said yes. I accepted and progressed that to conclusion. Ben should have done the same. Unfortunately he obviously made his decision when the piss fairy was visiting and will likely end with a conviction. I suspect he also thought the media party were his friends and the left, but he will find that ebb away in coming days when they find out he duped them too and didn’t tell the full story.

  • Answered in an article tomorrow at 0900

    • Mark Carey

      Thanks

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