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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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