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241 comments

In FEMA's defense (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688385)

The hacker was in New Orleans. So they were obligated by official policy to ignore his calls.

Re:In FEMA's defense (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688611)

"The hacker was in New Orleans. So they were obligated by official policy to ignore his calls."

Hey, it would be a little 'justice'...considering how badly FEMA screwed over many from the area.

Just another example of the incompetence of this Federal government agency. From my experience with them, and most all other govt agencies that have to deal with large numbers of people...sadly, the incompetence, red tape, and waste of money is a common denominator.

And now...we're wanting to put THEM in charge of our medical care? Scary.

Re:In FEMA's defense (3, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688853)

He was actually only trying to call one person, but every time the caller ID came up as FEMA the guy panicked and wouldn't answer. When the authorities showed up at the poor guys house he was in a fetal position, rocking himself back and forth saying over and over again, "FEMA. Keeps Calling. Won't stop. FEMA!!!"

Re:In FEMA's defense (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689351)

"$12,000 in calls" Must have been one heck of a psychic.

And now...we're wanting to put THEM in charge of our medical care? Scary.

Just curious, would you advocate privately run police forces?

Re:In FEMA's defense (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689561)

Hey, it would be a little 'justice'...considering how badly FEMA screwed over many from the area.

Once upon a time, people believed these words: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!" Though, I doubt you can figure out what I'm getting at.

Re:In FEMA's defense (2, Insightful)

Dantu (840928) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689621)

...sadly, the incompetence, red tape, and waste of money is a common denominator.

And now...we're wanting to put THEM in charge of our medical care? Scary.

Well, as a Canadian I can tell you that you're right, health-care run but bureaucrats is a bit scary. But, there is a bit of a problem with the alternative: the nature of heath-care is such that unless you are VERY rich, you want insurance. The problem with insurance is that it's not their job to heal you, it's their job to make money - and they are very good at it.

So, an incompetent bureaucrat managing my health care dollars is still much better than an insurance company.

PS: This goes for car insurance to. British Columbia has mandatory crown insurance - the company makes money for the government and still has lower insurance rates than the privatized provinces (I now live in Ontario).

Re:In FEMA's defense (2, Insightful)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689765)

I'm a little uncertain as to why you think private insurance provides more efficient health care? If anything, private insurance makes more profit by denying as much health care as possible.

Who hacks phones anymore? (1, Offtopic)

ralf1 (718128) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688411)

In an age of IP Telephony it seems kind of silly and ends up just being vandalism

Re:Who hacks phones anymore? (5, Interesting)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688465)

because phones, and more likely modems attached to stuff, still provide reliable ways to break into systems.

You kids and your IP telephony. Get off my lawn!

Re:Who hacks phones anymore? (5, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688795)

I saw this on Yahoo news this morning (and submitted it, apparently my submission wasn't the first). It looked to me like the purpose of the hack was to discredit the DHS, which is FEMA's parent organization.

Note that all the calls went to middle east countries, including Afghanistan and Yemen, both Taliban havens. IMO the hacker did the US a great service by exposing FEMA's incompetence. Katrina is fading in folks' memories and "Brownie", who took the fall for that cluster fuck, is long gone but the agency is still apparently still incredibly dysfunctional and run by incompetents.

Excellence and failure both start at the top. When the head guy is incompetent, he will hire incompetents.

Re:Who hacks phones anymore? (3, Informative)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689219)

It should be pointed out that FEMA used to be a very competant organization before GWBush merged it into his Department of Fatherland Security and cut it's budget.

Re:Who hacks phones anymore? (5, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689255)

Katrina is fading in folks' memories and "Brownie", who took the fall for that cluster fuck, is long gone but the agency is still apparently still incredibly dysfunctional and run by incompetents.

Excellence and failure both start at the top. When the head guy is incompetent, he will hire incompetents.

If you haven't noticed, the best way to get a bigger budget and more power is to be incompetent. That's the supposed reason why DHS was created in the first place.

If you subsidize stupidity, that is all you'll ever get.

Re:Who hacks phones anymore? (1)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689593)

Katrina is fading in folks' memories and "Brownie", who took the fall for that cluster fuck, is long gone but the agency is still apparently still incredibly dysfunctional and run by incompetents.

That's true of most of the government. All the more reason to reduce the government's role in our lives rather than expand it.

Excellence and failure both start at the top. When the head guy is incompetent, he will hire incompetents.

The truth is that the government will always be inept and inefficient regardless of who's at the top. But having someone at the top that you don't like makes you more prone to be more critical of the entire government apparatus even though the majority of the government apparatus does not change from administration to administration.

Re:Who hacks phones anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689457)

Nobody has ever HACKED a phone.

It's called Phreaking. /Get off my lawn.

Hacker? (4, Informative)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688437)

Shouldn't this be 'phreaker'? The article even states the break-in was over their PBX (i.e. a convential phone system, not VoIP).

Re:Hacker? (0, Offtopic)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688677)

Alas, the ignorant shape the use of our language more than anyone. You're right about Phreaker, but who knows that term beyond geeks? The term hacker and pirate are completely corrupted from their rightful meanings (along with acronym, utilize and impact). Whenever i try to point out the correct use of words i'm met with apologists and insults.

http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=650135&cid=24658053 [slashdot.org]

Re:Hacker? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688797)

If the majority of society has changed the meaning of some workds (hacker/pirate), then the meaning has changed for THE MAJORITY, which now makes you WRONG.

For example - GAY used to mean happy. It doesn't, anymore... because the majority of people no longer think of it that way. Therefore, if you're GAY, you're homosexual, not happy.

Same thing with Pirate/hacker.

get a life, and move out of your mom's basement.

Re:Hacker? (3, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689581)

"If the majority of society has changed the meaning of some workds (hacker/pirate), then the meaning has changed for THE MAJORITY, which now makes you WRONG."

Please tell the biologists to stop misusing bisexual, then. Also tell physicists that quantum leap actually means a big change, not a small one.

Re:Hacker? (1)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688889)

Where's King Knut when we need him?

Hacker and pirate are far from the only words to have shifted meaning since the advent of the Jargon File. This points to a larger issue: specialized language ("jargon") that has been assimilated by the mainstream will not maintain a consistent definition. Expecting it to do so--or actively attempting to make it do so--is futile.

Re:Hacker? (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688915)

Indeed, changing the masses and attempting to prevent ignorance is futile.

I don't expect to have to do that where 'experts' are supposed to be 'editors'.

Re:Hacker? (2, Insightful)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688991)

Changes in language can be classified as "ignorance" only by the same logic that Iraq can be classified as "Successful." As has been said before: language changes. Dealing with that change, or ordering it back like Knut ordered back the tide, is entirely up to you.

But please do not expect people to appreciate or respect you when you're being irrelevant.

Re:Hacker? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689335)

As has been said before: language changes.

And has also been said before: So what - that doesn't cause random errors made by uninformed ignoramuses to magically become correct usage.

Yes, it does (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689701)

As has been said before: language changes

And has also been said before: So what - that doesn't cause random errors made by uninformed ignoramuses to magically become correct usage.

That's exactly the process by which language changes, dude. When people start using terms incorrectly and people don't understand what they mean, those people are wrong. When the incorrect usage overtakes the correct usage and more people will understand the "incorrect" usage, then it's no longer "incorrect." Use of the outdated form may in fact come to be incorrect later on.

Language is about conveying meaning. Any language rules that exist, exist to standardize and facilitate communication. That means that what the most people understand something to mean is what it actually means. If you have to explain the terms you're using by using extra language, you're doing it wrong.

It's entirely possible to have a niche vocabulary among nerds that holds the old usage of crackers, phreakers, and hackers. To expect an AP article to use those terms is stupid. The majority of people reading the article wouldn't understand what they mean, but they do in fact understand precisely what they meant by the word "hacker."

Re:Hacker? (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689611)

These words didn't change because of natural mutation, but because the media don't know what they're talking about. I expected more from /., that's all.

Re:Hacker? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688729)

I bet a dollar that there was some sort of default password left intact, so it was
da fault of the installer. Thats the oldest school phreak in the book.
I remember in the 80's when we used to wardial to find computers and PBX's,
a friend and I discovered a DEC owned PBX with a dial in, input code, dial out line.
The code was only 4 digits long so before we brute forced it with a sequential
attempt, we kept trying to spell different 4 letter words. Lo and behold, the passcode was
ROCK, typed on the touch tone keypad. Unlike these hackers, we didn't call the middle east
and the PBX code stayed alive for our little group for over 6 years. That was way better than the Sprint, Metro, and MCI codes
that were going around back then.

Another of our members used a known exploit to completely take over a Nortel PBX, but
thats a different story.

Whats up 415 / 510 Scan club.

Phone Hacking (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688457)

I never understood why someone would or could make exhorbatent amin long distance phone calls. The only thing I can figure out is that some nerd was busy talking to his girlfriend on vacation.
 
  While (Idiot.onphone) {
"Hang up!"
"You!"
"No You!"
"No You Hang up!"
}

Re:Phone Hacking (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689377)

The only thing I can figure out is that some nerd was busy talking to his girlfriend on vacation.

I'm sure there's a flaw in that theory, but I just can't put my finger on it.

Who is valuing these minutes? (5, Interesting)

Sir_Real (179104) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688493)

Twelve Grand?! Is this another indicator of inflation? Who is billing this out? For 12 grand the phone companies should give you a phone that will work for life, from anywhere, to anywhere. Are the same people responsible for claiming that a quarter of schwag has a "street value" of fifty grand?

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688627)

Twelve Grand?!... Who is billing this out?

Most likely, Haliburton, or some other big Republican donor. Whoever it is I'm sure that they have the proper political views, as that seems an important part of gaining Bush government contracts or employment.

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (2, Informative)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688667)

Twelve Grand?! Is this another indicator of inflation? Who is billing this out? For 12 grand the phone companies should give you a phone that will work for life, from anywhere, to anywhere. Are the same people responsible for claiming that a quarter of schwag has a "street value" of fifty grand?

Well look at it this way. $12,000 in calls divided by the 400+ calls would bring it to less than $30 per call. For anyone who has made calls to overseas knows that the rates are freakin expensive.

For example from the FCC [fcc.gov]
Here are sample costs for calls to France from the U.S. at basic and discounted rates:

Basic Rate is $1.77-2.77 per minute

Note: The actual rates and terms from companies you choose may be different than those shown.

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (1)

Tenrosei (1305283) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688789)

"Most of the calls were about three minutes long, but some were as long as 10 minutes." FTA. so $30/3min is $10 a minute-ish since most were 3 minutes even if you go $30/5min its still 6 bucks a minute. The government needs a better phone company they are getting ripped off.

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689019)

For example from the FCC
Here are sample costs for calls to France from the U.S. at basic and discounted rates:

Basic Rate is $1.77-2.77 per minute

Dude, I have a regular landline phone from a major north american phone company (not one of the super-compressed voip discounters), and often speak to my relatives in France. I can call a landline in France for 5 cents per minute. I can call a cell phone in France for 30 cents per minute.

Someone is getting screwed (probably the taxpayer).

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688707)

No, it's the rate charged for this. Seriously. This same thing happened at one of my previous jobs and it left us with a $20K+ bill that we disputed with the phone company over a period of weeks.

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688761)

Thast not a lot. They probably dont have an international plan, so they were charged ala carte fees.

For those of us used to VOIP, its crazy, but phone companies still charge out the wazoo for calls.

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689071)

Are the same people responsible for claiming that a quarter of schwag has a "street value" of fifty grand?

Personally I've always thought people stupid enough to call weed "schwag" would be stupid enough to pay 50 grand for a quarter of it.

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (4, Informative)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689663)

Personally I've always thought people stupid enough to call weed "schwag" would be stupid enough to pay 50 grand for a quarter of it.

"Schwag" refers to the quality of the weed, like "middies", "kind" and "dank". "Schwag" refers to brownish, dry, shakey crap with seeds and stems (usually outdoor bud grown in Mexico). A quarter of schwag isn't worth much more than $20-$30 (at least on the east coast).

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (1)

lufo (949075) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689183)

Well, not really. Here (Spain) we had an issue with a Vodafone 3G phone with the wrong rate plan for data roaming in Italy, and it was a 6.000 euro issue, and we're a not-so-big bussiness. OK, maybe there are less than 200 bussiness in Spain with accounts that big, but hey, it's still 200 and not 20.

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689391)

They're taking a cue from the RIAA who believe that illegally downloaded songs are worth 12,000 bucks each. Or maybe that other kid cracker who got into Air Force computers and was able to look up flight plans, then the Air Force tried to say that he cost thousands or millions in "damages"

They should just call it the "You made us look stoopid" tax.

Re:Who is valuing these minutes? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689591)

Exactly! This is the real story. Not that the phreaker was able to make the calls using a FEMA PBX/voicemail system but that the phone company charged $12,000 for calls all made by ONE PERSON. That is absolutely ridiculous! Do you know how much those calls would cost if they used SIP Trunks instead? Nothing!

government waste or what? (2, Interesting)

Moblaster (521614) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688505)

Apparently most calls were short, from 3 to 10 minutes. Assuming these calls were all longer, like the max of 10 minutes, then for 400 calls to total $12,000 the government must be paying a minimum $3 per minute for these calls.

Either someone is massive exaggerating the scope of this theft or some idiot in procurement failed to put our national security infrastructure on the international calling plan.

Re:government waste or what? (2, Interesting)

Trigun (685027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688587)

The 400 calls aren't necessarily consecutive.

Many times these hacks are done to provide low cost calling to immigrants calling back home. $20 bucks can buy you almost unlimited phone time to talk to your entire village back home.

Uh-Oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688527)

I sense a no call list in our future.

cover up! (2, Interesting)

smallshot (1202439) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688529)

sounds like a cover up for a terrorist who has been working in Homeland Security for years and got caught making a phone call!

that is, if you have an active imagination...

Oldschool! (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688539)

Wow, this is oldschool stuff. Why is a PBX getting hacked news for nerds? It used to happen all the freaking time. And why would anyone bother these days? Phone calls are so cheap, especially international phone calls, especially international phone calls originating from America. Heck, international long distance used to be $2-5 per minute. That was why you owned PBXes and traded k0d3z. Otherwise, you could never call those cool Swedish BBS with the latest seven day warez.

There used to be people standing beside pay phones in Chinatown, give them ten bucks and they'll give you a stolen calling card, with which you could make as long a call as you liked. Whole villages would line up and call home, 48-72 hour calls were not unheard of. But now? Skype, VOIP, and a whole forest of cheap calling cards.

An act that merits actual attention (-1, Flamebait)

Lucid 3ntr0py (1348103) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688543)

As opposed to many "victimless crimes" [abuse of govt resources IMHO but its own citizens(come one we should get entitled to more of our own tax money)], I think this incident requires some looking into.

Firstly the person(s) did call many countries on our "watch-list", what ever that may be worth. More importantly who knows that many people that they can rack up 12,000 dollars worth of calls? I mean who are they calling? That my friends is where the real story is.

Re:An act that merits actual attention (1)

querist (97166) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688773)

The $12,000 is not that hard to believe given the following:

1. have you ever seen what the "regular" phone company charges for international calls? Why do you think that there is such a huge market for things like Skype and the "International Phone Cards" you see in every gas station here in SC?

2. Many countries' phone companies add charges to the phone calls, and of course the phone companies pass those back to the customer. Why should it cost more to call Japan than to call China? It does, because the Japanese phone company charges extra fees, and it's worse if you call a Japanese mobile phone from the US. (It's funny, in many cases it's actually _cheaper_ to call a Chinese mobile phone than to call a Chinese land-line.)

3. Time of the call - the charges discussed above vary based on the time of day. Usually, during "daylight" hours and "work days", calls are more expensive. Given the places called, you're pretty much hosed because unless you timed it carefully, you fit at least one of those conditions either at the origin or the destination.

4. Connection charges. Come phone companies have a "connection" charge for making an international call - an up-front charge before they even start tallying minutes. (Also, most companies round up to the next whole minute, so if you talk for 1 min 1 sec, you're billed for 2 minutes.

So, yes, $12,000 is quite believeable.

Re:An act that merits actual attention (2, Interesting)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689417)

Its quite possible the person who broke into the PBX also sold the information on how to make 'free' calls to wherever which would result in multiple people accessing it simultaneously thus making it possible to rack up $12,000+ in very short periods of time.

No Skype? (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688545)

So he doesn't have a Skype account?

Re:No Skype? (5, Funny)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688687)

So he doesn't have a Skype account?

Pfft! Who needs Skype when you have the FEMA Phone! Yes! With the FEMA Phone you can call anywhere in the World for FREE! And if you act now, you can get your own FEMA Trailer for Free!

Subject to criminal prosecution and penalties. Offerer is not responsible for purchaser's stupidity.

Incompetence... (4, Insightful)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688567)

DHS is like the laughing stock of government security. Being PBX Phreaked with a 15 year old hack is just bad... Hope the next administration isn't this incompetent.

Re:Incompetence... (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688867)

Hope the next administration isn't this incompetent.

I'd say it wasn't possible to have a worse President, but I thought I'd never see a worse President than Carter, either. Bush proved me wrong on that one, now I worry and just keep my fingers crossed. I'm not too thrilled with either McCain or Obama, and will be voting against both of them.

Re:Incompetence... (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688999)

Really? And just who will you be voting for?

Re:Incompetence... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689421)

Either Libertarian candidate Bob Barr or Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. It doesn't matter as both will lose, but I'll be casting a vote against Corporate Party candidates McCain and Obama.

Re:Incompetence... (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689629)

Interesting. I didn't think about ether of those. While I'm sure that both will lose compared to tweetledee and tweetledumbass but that might be just a damn good idea. I think there should be one more option on the ballot. A "none of the above" that expresses a no confidence in any of the candidates.

Re:Incompetence... (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689015)

Governments that are incompetent are far less dangerous than competent ones.

Default password? (3, Interesting)

bsaxberg (760884) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688577)

What are the odds he/she used a default password to gain access? I mean this is the government we are talking about here.

Re:Default password? (1)

Gnorme (1086027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688869)

If not default, it is more then likely the same thing the DHS uses for their luggage.

Re:Default password? (1)

N!k0N (883435) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688907)

If not default, it is more then likely the same thing the DHS uses for their luggage.

Would that happen to be 12345?

Re:Default password? (1)

Jstlook (1193309) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689325)

If not default, it is more then likely the same thing the DHS uses for their luggage.

Would that happen to be 12345?

Oblig: That's the same password as my luggage!

Re:Default password? (1)

Inglix the Mad (576601) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689263)

What are the odds he/she used a default password to gain access? I mean this is the government we are talking about here.

Don't you mean this is a Bush appointee agency we're talking about? Valuing loyalty is understandable, even laudable in some ways. Putting people in agencies that they have no business running, or working in, is ridiculous and dangerous.

The only administration I know of that took cronyism to an even higher level was U.S. Grant's.

Terrorist? (0, Flamebait)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688593)

From the article:

Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, India and Yemen are among the countries calls were made to, Olshanski said. Most of the calls were about three minutes long, but some were as long as 10 minutes.

This phreaker could have been a terrorist attempting to make calls back to headquarters in the Middle East.

"This illegal activity enables unauthorized individuals anywhere in the world to communicate via compromised U.S. phone systems in a way that is difficult to trace," according to a department information bulletin from June 3, 2003.

Since 2003? FEMA really needs to tighten up!

Re:Terrorist? (2, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688673)

Ahhahhahha. What terrorist is dumb enough to route the calls directly through the DHS and FEMA monitored lines! Somehow, i doubt it. This sounds like the "good" kind of hacking, showing a major security hole, doing a proof of the work, not destroying anything, but making the DHS look closer at their security. Poor Hacker though, I imagine he's in Guitmo already as an "enemy combatant".

Re:Terrorist? (2, Funny)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689537)

So, while illegally wiretapping citizen lines, the government *should* have been wiretapping itself...

TFA isn't exactly technically savvy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688599)

"Many companies are moving to a higher tech version, known as Voice Over Internet Telephony."

Yes, I keep hearing about VoIT....

Re:TFA isn't exactly technically savvy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688631)

Here that alot around these parts, usually along the following lines "voit is that you are saying?"

Government Accounting (4, Funny)

lewko (195646) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688649)

400 calls totalling $12,000.

That is, about $30 per call.

And from the article: "Most of the calls were about three minutes long, but some were as long as 10 minutes."

As long as 10 minutes? Not only did FEMA have a badly configured phone system, they must have had some of the crappiest call plans I could possibly imagine. I mean, where were the calls terminating? The moon?

Your tax dollars at work.

Re:Government Accounting (1)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688937)

They probably had a no-bid phone contract from KBR shoved down their throats over at DHS. And since DHS workers aren't in the civil-service union, there's no whistleblower protection, so nobody squawked.

Re:Government Accounting (1)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688973)

Oops, knee jerked a little too fast. FEMA, dammit, not DHS. I hate it when screw-ups don't ratify my world-view.

Expensive rate (was:Government Accounting) (2, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689517)

Assuming the phone was "off the hook" for the entire 48 hours and only one call is placed at any given time, that's 2880 minutes, or $4.17 a minute. Any phone company charging that kind of rate per minute will get call into the capital by state utility commission (AT&T charges just over a buck a minute for cellphone roaming calls originating in Asia.)

Here it comes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688791)

CNN had a front page article about how a cyber attack could do more damage than any other act of terrorism. Now this...

Bye-bye internets...get ready for broadcast with tracked user clicks.

What a surprise (2, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688799)

If anybody ever doubted that these clowns are better at sucking up tax dollars and destroying the US Constitution than providing security, look no further for the proof.

Osama must be laughing his ass off.

Re:What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689331)

except for that he is laughing while hiding in a cave, fearful for his life.

it's along the lines of saying that hitler was laughing about horrors of death camps being uncovered by the allies as he was listening from his bunker to the sounds of the approaching soviets.

Re:What a surprise (1)

explodingspleen (1267860) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689357)

Yes, I'm sure people making unapproved long distance calls has been at the front of DHS's security concerns, and their failure to anticipate the situation clearly indicates their inability to function successfully in any other capacity.

I have as many criticisms of the government as anyone else. But people who don't take the problems seriously are only half the issue. The other half is people like you who can relate a small technical problem which may not even be worth fixing (have you analyzed the cost to upgrade vs. the cost of the occasional prankster?) to every other criticism you have of the U.S. government.

Those of us with real concerns about government failings then have to fight to be taken seriously.

Re:What a surprise (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689589)

Baseline security is not a 'small technical problem'. All the easy stuff should be done, always. ESPECIALLY if you are under a branch with the word "security" in it. I wonder how many public exposed routers these clowns have running telnet. Probably with ssh alongside. WTF?

Calling caliphs and prophets hello hello (1)

ilovesymbian (1341639) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688819)

Maybe he was calling the middle east prophets to invoke another hurricane on New Orleans.

Silly (2, Insightful)

X.25 (255792) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688945)

Hacking PBXes was ok 15 years ago.

Hacking them now is pretty much guaranteed to get him caught.

Oh well...

But he assured the hole has since been closed... (4, Insightful)

s.d. (33767) | more than 5 years ago | (#24688955)

Olshanski did not know who the contractor was or what hole specifically was left open, but he assured the hole has since been closed.

"I don't know who it was or what they did or didn't do, but I assure you they fixed it."

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689177)

What's funny is that no one noticed this until after the fact... did nobody notice the hack taking place? Was accounting out to lunch on this one? You'd think with an organization the size of DHS they'd be processing billing reports daily.

It honestly makes me sad to see tax dollars spent this way and the person who did this if caught will probably end up spending 7 years in a federal prison and for what really, exposing government incompetence?

I honestly wonder if DHS had their receptionist setup the PBX.

Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689215)

"You're doing a heck of a job brownie..."

Why the 'haha'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689241)

If Richard Stallman's house gets burnt down, I'll go 'haha'.
Because it's funny and exposes security weaknesses and we don't like the individual(s), yeah.

Cracker, not hacker... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#24689451)

I mean really, I know the /. janitors are determined to bring tabloid-standard reading levels in, but you'd think they'd at least get *that* bit right.

what sort of crap? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689603)

What sort of crap is this story?

With my long distance plan I pay $0.05 per minute anywhere in North America and ditto even into Australia.

$0.05 * 60 * 24 = $72 per day.

Saturday + Sunday = 2 days.

What part of this story makes no sense?

We had this happen a few years back (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24689689)

I noticed a weird account in our VM system; on investigation it was trying to call an overseas toll line repeatedly. Our phone vendor said that the hacker will do this to get a kickback on the charges. Luckily, we had overseas calls blocked by our provider, so we didn't have any real problems, but we're strict about everyone having passwords now.

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