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A Conference For Malware Writers

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the who's-bringing-the-giant-hollow-horse dept.

Security 112

tsu doh nimh writes "There is a security conference being held in Mumbai later this year called MalCon, and the organizers say it's the first ever conference dedicated to the 'malcoder community.' Brian Krebs interviewed one of them and got this gem: 'Just like the concept of "ethical hacking" has helped organizations to see that hackers are not all that bad, it is time to accept that "ethical malcoding" is required to research, identify and mitigate newer malwares in a "proactive" way.' Bruce Schneier is speaking at a sister MalCon event in Pune, India two days later, and he said he doesn't agree with the organizer's premise that more malware is needed to build better security tools."

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What could possibly go wrong? (1, Insightful)

craftycoder (1851452) | about 4 years ago | (#33396594)

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | about 4 years ago | (#33396680)

Microsoft will doubtless send an engineer so that the malware authors can reserve the bandwidth they need for all those coredumps mentioned earlier.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0, Troll)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 4 years ago | (#33396796)

They really ought to do that. After all, microsoft makes a boatload of money off all the people who think they need a new computer every other year when it's just the malware making the thing run slowly. If they shipped a more secure OS the resulting drop in revenue would hurt them badly, which is one reason malware from 1995 can run on windows 6.1, er, "7".

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (3, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | about 4 years ago | (#33396892)

No amount of malware can ever drain as much performance as Norton Antivirus.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

sco08y (615665) | about 4 years ago | (#33397188)

No amount of malware can ever drain as much performance as Norton Antivirus.

No malware can suck the life, soul or mind out of you like PowerPoint.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2, Insightful)

kenrblan (1388237) | about 4 years ago | (#33397224)

MalCon 2011 - Sponsored by Symantec and McAfee

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

bami (1376931) | about 4 years ago | (#33398890)

I doubt as sponsors, more as participants.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | about 4 years ago | (#33397482)

No amount of malware could ever suck as much bandwidth or create as much annoyance as Norton or McAfee, et al. At least malware isn't always demanding updates and upgrades.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2, Insightful)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 4 years ago | (#33397694)

Malware does automatic updates and upgrades.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397862)

But at least with malware it is transparent...

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2, Funny)

mark72005 (1233572) | about 4 years ago | (#33397954)

And the malware developers don't give you popups and sound effects and nag screens about it. :)

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

DJLuc1d (1010987) | about 4 years ago | (#33399144)

Argh! Beat me to it.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

cozzbp (1845636) | about 4 years ago | (#33398000)

Not even Norton can save you now.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

leromarinvit (1462031) | about 4 years ago | (#33398132)

No amount of malware can ever drain as much performance as Norton Antivirus.

That's the point - install Norton Antivirus and malware will instantly stop bothering you!

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | about 4 years ago | (#33399092)

No amount of malware can ever drain as much performance as Norton Antivirus.

Comment .... Of .... The .... Week ....

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 4 years ago | (#33398082)

I'm running Windows Vista, installed a few years ago (very soon after Vista was released), no auto updates, disabled security that I could, always turn off defender at boot, running in administator account, no anti-virus. I'm not anal about the sites I visit - however I never run anything from a source I don't trust at least a bit.

No viruses, no slowdown. I've just moved my PC, but prior to that it was at over a month uptime (I know I should probably turn it off when I'm at work, but I'm lazy).

The myth about Windows installs necessarily degenerating and being inherently liable to viruses has to get squished soon - it does nothing for Linux. The users who you are trying to switch over will install any old thing whatever OS they are using.

ps. I just bought a new HD to install Linux on on my computer, I'll probably go Slackware since it's what I'm most familiar with. One of the reasons I'm not running Linux yet is because the fakeraid implementation was pretty technical when I got this computer, and I didn't want to jump right in and hose the partition (which is what the Ubuntu installer suggested... fortunately I knew enough about my system partitioning to not allow it to do that).

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

ZosX (517789) | about 4 years ago | (#33398452)

I'm running Windows Vista, installed a few years ago (very soon after Vista was released), no auto updates, disabled security that I could, always turn off defender at boot, running in administator account, no anti-virus. I'm not anal about the sites I visit - however I never run anything from a source I don't trust at least a bit.

No viruses, no slowdown. I've just moved my PC, but prior to that it was at over a month uptime (I know I should probably turn it off when I'm at work, but I'm lazy).

The myth about Windows installs necessarily degenerating and being inherently liable to viruses has to get squished soon - it does nothing for Linux. The users who you are trying to switch over will install any old thing whatever OS they are using.

ps. I just bought a new HD to install Linux on on my computer, I'll probably go Slackware since it's what I'm most familiar with. One of the reasons I'm not running Linux yet is because the fakeraid implementation was pretty technical when I got this computer, and I didn't want to jump right in and hose the partition (which is what the Ubuntu installer suggested... fortunately I knew enough about my system partitioning to not allow it to do that).

So you run with no firewall? No UAC? Geez. You might as leave the door wide open and put a light on. Sure the security of Windows isn't the best ever, but I've found that some is certainly better than nothing. I mean do you use flash? You know that there are like a million exploits right there right? And with no anti-virus scanner or anything, how would you even know if you were infected?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33398930)

And with no anti-virus scanner or anything, how would you even know if you were infected?

He wouldn't know, of course. Could be he's on dial-up, the malware is less likely to get users with a useless, slow connection. :)

But seriously, there are lots of dorks on /. who brag about "never been infected"; it's obvious they don't know what they're doing and are running a spambot or worse. Remember, the average time it takes for a fresh winstall to be compromised is twelve (12) minutes [zdnet.com.au] !

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Voulnet (1630793) | about 4 years ago | (#33398858)

Do you check your connections periodically to try and make sure your PC isn't calling back to the mother(bot)ship?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33399714)

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, the truth hurts doesn't it monkeyboi?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33398446)

Wrong? This is a Godsend. We have a location and time, we have the subjects and we have loads of new neurotoxins to test.
We figured we would have to wait for the NAMBLA convention to find test subjects that no one would miss in case of "mysterious" disappearance.
This is absolute serendipity.

Ohh, can we? can we? can we? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33396648)

Can we nuke the site from orbit?

Re:Ohh, can we? can we? can we? (1)

sco08y (615665) | about 4 years ago | (#33397130)

Bambam, this is Grover.

Grover, this is Bambam.

Bambam, this is Grover. Request, orbital strike, thermonuclear payload, TRP Malcon.

Grover, this is Bambam, send nuclear authorization codes.

Bambam, this is Grover, authorization code follows, "kill it with fire."

Shot over.

Shout out.

Splash over.

Splash out.

Bambam, this is Grover, fire for effect.

Car Bomb (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about 4 years ago | (#33397510)

If ever a car bomb was an appropriate response to anything, this is it.

Re:Ohh, can we? can we? can we? (1)

ZosX (517789) | about 4 years ago | (#33398466)

Can we nuke the site from orbit?

How is this remotely a troll? This is the best idea I've heard all day!

Re:Ohh, can we? can we? can we? (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 4 years ago | (#33398548)

You've never read/watched Andromeda Strain, have you?

Re:Ohh, can we? can we? can we? (1)

ZosX (517789) | about 4 years ago | (#33399410)

Can't say I have. :)

Re:Ohh, can we? can we? can we? (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 4 years ago | (#33400336)

Well then, if you take advise from strangers on /., the old Andromeda Strain movie is one that I would recommend. :)

Not the new movie though, I personally didn't care for it much.

All our rotten eggs in one basket... (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#33396650)

Take off and nuke the site from Orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:All our rotten eggs in one basket... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33396918)

Nuking those guys would be ethical murder.

Re:All our rotten eggs in one basket... (3, Insightful)

MarkRose (820682) | about 4 years ago | (#33396956)

That won't work. Malware is an ecological/economic niche, and someone(s) or something will fill it.

Re:All our rotten eggs in one basket... (4, Funny)

kenrblan (1388237) | about 4 years ago | (#33397116)

That won't work. Malware is an ecological/economic niche, and someone(s) or something will fill it.

Perhaps you are right, but nuking from orbit would be a significant deterrent. Besides, this could become an annual event. Having a contractor like Blackwater nuke it annually would open new jobs for malware enthusiasts each year. There would be construction jobs to rebuild the convention site. Just think of the economic impact! Additionally, it could serve as a method of population control. /s

Re:All our rotten eggs in one basket... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397974)

Now THAT's what I call a burning man festival.

Re:All our rotten eggs in one basket... (2, Funny)

Badbone (1159483) | about 4 years ago | (#33398168)

Considering the group, I think they have no problem at all with population control.

Re:All our rotten eggs in one basket... (1)

pinkfalcon (215531) | about 4 years ago | (#33397058)

I was thinking of the exact same quote when I read this....

Re:All our rotten eggs in one basket... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397312)

Take off and nuke the site from Orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Are you an American ?

Re:All our rotten eggs in one basket... (0, Offtopic)

mark72005 (1233572) | about 4 years ago | (#33397502)

Must not be, or he would propose invade&occupy

Re:All our rotten eggs in one basket... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33400142)

It would make me feel better, as I sit here waiting on a virus scan.
OOPs two trojans so far, thats with old def's

Bad analogy is bad (3, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 4 years ago | (#33396668)

We need to create new, more virulent biological weapons to improve medicine.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33396760)

I'm sorry. I dont follow you.

Can you give me a car analogy?

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 4 years ago | (#33396810)

Best way to make cars safer is to crash-test them.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

easterberry (1826250) | about 4 years ago | (#33396850)

best way to make cars safer is to hire people to randomly sabotage people's cars

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1, Offtopic)

mark72005 (1233572) | about 4 years ago | (#33397514)

best way to make Soviet Russia is to watch YOU!

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33398786)

god damn fucking boo!

give this fucking meme a rest

Re:Bad analogy is bad (0, Redundant)

mark72005 (1233572) | about 4 years ago | (#33399480)

on Slashdot meme memes YOU!

Re:Bad analogy is bad (2, Insightful)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | about 4 years ago | (#33396876)

Best way to make cars safer is to put more dangerous people on the road.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33397566)

I wish I had mod points left. That's precisely the point, by definition malware is bad, it isn't like ethical hacking which is a dubious practice, malware is uniformly bad. The only instance that I could possibly imagine an exception to that would be law enforcement taps, but even that's questionable.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

Ohrion (814105) | about 4 years ago | (#33397768)

Wait what? Since when is ethical hacking dubious?! If I had mod points, you would be modded as a troll. Also, there are very good reasons for ethical malware creation. These are the guys who do research for anti-virus and security firms, not released to the wild. Learning how to do it, so code will be available to STOP or prevent it. If Microsoft and other software companies don't have people at this conference, then they are losing a great opportunity to gain knowledge that can be used to prevent this stuff.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

grcumb (781340) | about 4 years ago | (#33399240)

Wait what? Since when is ethical hacking dubious?! If I had mod points, you would be modded as a troll.

Then it's a good thing you don't have points (and possibly the reason why).

If you disagree, rebut the argument with evidence and reason. Modding people down for being wrong (in your opinion) is childish and, most important of all, unpersuasive.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

treeves (963993) | about 4 years ago | (#33399256)

Remotely, while they are being driven on the interstate.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 4 years ago | (#33396864)

We need to take perfectly good cars and figure out ways to intentionally crash them under test conditions, so manufacturers know what works and what doesn't under controlled conditions and have the opportunity to determine points of failure and how to work around them.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

beschra (1424727) | about 4 years ago | (#33397692)

Now you're just talkin' crazy talk.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 4 years ago | (#33397006)

We need bad laws to make better lawyers.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

Garble Snarky (715674) | about 4 years ago | (#33397198)

You know, if consumer technology ever gets to the point that sk1rpt k1dd1es can mess with DNA and create biological weapons from scratch... I'm pretty sure I will want researchers investigating the creation and mitigation of biological weapons.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 years ago | (#33397204)

We need to create new, more virulent biological weapons to improve medicine.

Actually, the government has active biowarfare labs churning out new and more virulent bugs specifically so they can create new vaccines and targeted drugs.

Every now and then they discover something that is useful outside the field of biochem weapons.

Re:Bad analogy is bad (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33397604)

That's not correct. They develop the bugs so that they have something to theoretically use on the other side as a hail Mary, they develop the drugs on the off chance that some of us survive and hopefully none of them. What you're proposing is nonsense, they don't decide that "hey we need a new vaccine," it's more like "hey we need the ability to wipe out everybody else."

But yes from time to time there's useful stuff that comes out of it as a pure accident.

Seriously... (5, Insightful)

boneclinkz (1284458) | about 4 years ago | (#33396694)

I love it when guys like this try and come off as if they provide some sort of legitimate service, and that they have an actual organized "community."

What's next?

Pedocon: Discussing the tools and tactics of the new generation of pedophiles, to enable parents to better protect their children.

This is genius (3, Funny)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | about 4 years ago | (#33396716)

Also, they're having a conference for criminals down at the local police station. Real big conference, trust me. I bet there'll be booth babes.

Re:This is genius (2, Funny)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 4 years ago | (#33397108)

I bet there'll be booth babes.

I'd go for the booth babes at the criminal convention over the malware booth babes...bound to be fewer viruses...

Re:This is genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397520)

At the conclusion of the conference, there will be donuts and coffee. And grief counseling.

Re:This is genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33399940)

They won't have any evidence these attendees have done anything illegal. It is always questionable if writing malware is a crime. It shouldn't be in any jurisdiction with free speech protections. It's not much different than producing a hammer or or any other tool either. For instance code that inserts advertising into pages can be used by ISPs for legit purposes or illegitimate purposes. It all depends on the circumstances and end-user. The first user to execute the code and the network with which it is contained determines if the activity is legitimate. The writing of the code can't be criminal.

after (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33396720)

They should give out free promotional USB memory devices! 100pts. for every attendee you get saying 'Let's see what's on this... oh... what an idiot...!' and facepalming/bursting into flames.

It's a trap! (1)

spidercoz (947220) | about 4 years ago | (#33396724)

hopefully it really is

Re:It's a trap! (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 4 years ago | (#33396808)

You'd think that if anyone were going to know better than to accept an invitation from a dethroned Nigerian prince to join him on a luxury vacation in the exotic east, it would be these guys... :-/

Re:It's a trap! (1)

xaositects (786749) | about 4 years ago | (#33398834)

to teach better tucking

tubg1rl (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33396822)

MalCon (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#33396842)

They should hold it outside, under a bunch of large canopies. Then they'd be sure to have a lot of MalCon tents there.

Re:MalCon (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 4 years ago | (#33397362)

Clothiers could set up booths from which to hawk malwear.

Participants ante up some money to compete at writing the best (worst?) malware using an interpreted language. The pooled entrance fees would be placed into the Script Kitty for distribution to the winner.

The possibilities are endless.

Re:MalCon (1)

beschra (1424727) | about 4 years ago | (#33397718)

Ouch!

Re:MalCon (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 4 years ago | (#33397846)

yep makes the predator fireing solution so much simpler:-0

Re:MalCon (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | about 4 years ago | (#33398274)

I was going to make that exact pun. My hat is off to you, sir/madam.

To prevent this post from being a "+1" let me add the following [eckernet.com] .

Correct me if I'm wrong but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33396900)

Isn't this like suggesting that we genetically engineer deadlier flu viruses? Sure it looks stupid in the short term but those of us who survive will have healthier immune systems so we'll be better off!

Right? Right?

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397766)

Isn't this like suggesting that we genetically engineer deadlier flu viruses? Sure it looks stupid in the short term but those of us who survive will have healthier immune systems so we'll be better off!

Right? Right?

Don't worry, I'm sure somebody is working on that too.

Ethical Malcoding (4, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | about 4 years ago | (#33396920)

Ethical Malcoding: From the people who brought you:

Ethical Terrorism
Ethical Oppression
Ethical Genocide
Ethical Cannibalism
Ethical Amorality
...and many, many more!

Maybe they're hoping that by concentrating enough evil in one room, they'll create a black hole of iniquity that will flush these fuckers down a cosmic toilet.

Re:Ethical Malcoding (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | about 4 years ago | (#33396992)

Ethical Amorality

They give up their scruples so we can have more.

Ethical Cannibalism (1)

JSBiff (87824) | about 4 years ago | (#33397212)

There ain't no party like a Donner Party [wikipedia.org] .

Seriously, the situations are incredibly rare, but I can see in true crisis situations, someone eating the flesh of another person to survive until they can get help/other sources of food, without morally transgressing. I could see a parent, seeing their family on the verge of starvation, giving of themselves (quite literally), so their children could survive. I think such situations could very well be ethical.

Re:Ethical Cannibalism (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | about 4 years ago | (#33397318)

Well, sure, and if SkyNet is destroying all humans and you can stop it by infecting it with a nasty virus, then you're a hero. But that's not really what we're talking about.

Re:Ethical Malcoding (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 4 years ago | (#33397626)

It could very well be a way for some agencies to track malware writers, or any newcomers wanting to become the next big malware writer...set up a big FAKE malware convention, have people talk for those who listen, send out proof of concept work using code that is traceable, set up perimeter online to spot any of the same code in the wild, track all ip addresses set up for such activity, and voila, you now have a step up on the bad guys...I also tend to overdo it with watching conspiracy movies!

You leave me no choice but to invoke the power of (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 4 years ago | (#33399772)

... the Toilet of Power [zebragirl.net] !

Yeah, Right (2, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 4 years ago | (#33396960)

Yeah. Like more murders lead to better murder investigations.

Serial Killers (2, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 4 years ago | (#33397166)

But isn't what you say true. Serial Killers are better murders, and they result in specialized training and expertise on the side of the police, FBI, Scotland Yard.

Of opportunity (0, Troll)

Arctech (538041) | about 4 years ago | (#33397010)

Unironically carpet-bomb the location to hell and back.

Re:Of opportunity (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | about 4 years ago | (#33398284)

No, just bomb them to hell; don't bring them back.

Could it be the roach motel of conferences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397050)

Could it be the roach motel of conferences? Malware coders check in, but they don't check out? One could only hope.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397074)

Will this convention have free, open wi-fi as well?

Bill Gates ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397180)

Is Bill Gates attending ? You know, the guy that's famous for spreading Windows all over the world.

Call Guinness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397182)

There's got to be a record for the most negative karma in one place.

Re:Call Guinness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397814)

Here in the states we call that Republican National Committee meetings.

Well, bad for good coders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397196)

Malcoder... you mean people who write bad code?

Organizer has impressive credentials* (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | about 4 years ago | (#33397492)

  • professional security researcher
  • authored custom tools for hacking
  • member of the prestigious national security database
  • discovered vulnerabilities in pizzahut
  • presenter at clubhack

* http://malcon.org/2010/workshops/MalConMalwareAnalysis2010.pdf [malcon.org]

Re:Organizer has impressive credentials* (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33397646)

So, you're saying that he just has a stunning lack of common sense or ethics?

Re:Organizer has impressive credentials* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397860)

How do you win a conference ?

Thanks for the heads up... (1)

GigG (887839) | about 4 years ago | (#33397530)

Sounds like a great place for the FBI and every other nation's federal law enforcement bodies set up and find out who the a-holes are.

Checklist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33397816)

Tickets... check. Passport... check. Baseball bat... check. All set!

This is like having a conference for nuke makers (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#33397916)

Under the guise of "helping citizens to develop better detection and understanding of Weapons of Mass Destruction"

Surely weapons of mass destruction do less damage, if they're better understood, and more people know about what techniques are need to make them and how to get around pitfalls and difficulties in constructing WMDs, right?

As a person affect by the malware "community"... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33398204)

Speaking as person who has felt the effects of this wonderful "community" when a customer network got trojans that installed malware that tried to use our email server to send out nigerian prince emails, I would like to offer these thoughts:

I hope you all catch syphilis.
And your convention burns down.
And you all die,
from fire,
and syphilis.

Nigerian Email Conference (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 4 years ago | (#33399344)

If you like this conference, maybe you'll like the Nigerian Email Conference: http://j-walk.com/other/conf/ [j-walk.com]

Meeting in Mumbai, huh? (1)

unitron (5733) | about 4 years ago | (#33400246)

If only they'd scheduled it 2 years sooner.

Yep (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about 4 years ago | (#33400492)

It is being held at the Palace of Prince Barrister Azeez, but he will need you to send him $5,000 us dollars as security deposit on your room.

Where are terrorists when you need them? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 4 years ago | (#33400986)

Seriously, that's one place where killing of attendees is a perfectly valid reaction of a sane person.

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