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Spam Text Prematurely Blows Up Suicide Bomber

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the spam-redeems-itself dept.

Spam 573

Hugh Pickens writes "A suicide bomber's plan to detonate explosives in Central Moscow on New Year's Eve was foiled when she received an unexpected spam text message that caused her deadly payload to blow up too early. A message wishing her a happy new year came hours before the unnamed woman was to set off her suicide belt near Red Square, an act of terrorism that could have killed hundreds of people. Islamist terrorists in Russia often use mobile phones as detonators. The bomber's handler, who is usually watching his charge, sends the bomber a text message to set off the explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties."

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Best story ever. (1)

sidragon.net (1238654) | more than 3 years ago | (#35032992)

See subject.

Re:Best story ever. [citation needed] (4, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033254)

The "story" is a little light on details. The suicide bomber has no name and no location is given, other than she was in a "safe house". Why wasn't this news four weeks ago, when it was New Year's? Why do they think it was an errant text message that set the bomb off and not just a defective trigger (after all, the phone should have been destroyed in the blast)?

I expect to see this on Snopes shortly.

Re:Best story ever. [citation needed] (4, Insightful)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033458)

I suspect you answered your own question. It took time to figure all this stuff out, going through records and such, and that's why it's only now being reported on.

First... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35032994)

SPAM text. kaBOOM!

Oh, I laughed when I read this (3, Insightful)

dr_db (202135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033004)

Made me think of Achmed and his 'premature detonation.'

Sad to think this is how people need to express their world view, happy when it turns out like this for them.

Re:Oh, I laughed when I read this (4, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033168)

I think this is the kind of terrorism we can all get behind - where the terrorist blows himself up without harming other people.

Re:Oh, I laughed when I read this (5, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033378)

Another funny story about a terrorist bomb premature detonation was one of a car bomb that detonated on a deserted Israeli road.

Comparing the remains of the driver's wristwatch with the clock attached to the bomb in the car's trunk, Israeli experts came to the conclusion that the bomb clock was set to Israeli time, which was in daylight saving mode, and the driver's was set to Palestinian time, which wasn't.

Re:Oh, I laughed when I read this (1, Funny)

willda (1369247) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033500)

May seem a little callous but, here goes...........A NOT so smart bomb!

Poor Engineering As A Plus: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033026)

Thankfully many of the bomb makers for such groups don't think through the failure modes very thoroughly.

Re:Poor Engineering As A Plus: (4, Insightful)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033118)

Either that or they care so little about the suicide bombers that they didn't bother doing the extra work to prevent this.

Re:Poor Engineering As A Plus: (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033620)

True, and the added bonus is, the user probably won't be filing any complaints over premature detonation...

Re:Poor Engineering As A Plus: (2)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033312)

Thankfully many of the bomb makers for such groups don't think through the failure modes very thoroughly.

Those Terrorism Safety courses are kinda boring. Too much theory and not enough hands-on (or should I say, "hands-off").

Re:Poor Engineering As A Plus: (1)

KDN (3283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033608)

My question is, if this person was a suicide bomber, why trigger remotely? Seems to me there would be fewer things to go wrong if you have a deadman switch in your hand.

Re:Poor Engineering As A Plus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033706)

The article answers your question, so stfu and go read it.

Re:Poor Engineering As A Plus: (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033724)

The sorts of people that are typically recruited as suicide bombers are what you might call "unstable". There's no guarantee that they would detonate at the right moment, or at all.

Having the handler control the detonation also takes a lot of the responsibility off of the mule (in their own eyes). All they have to do is walk into a crowd, the handler will be the one actually pulling the 'trigger'.

Uniqueness (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033040)

Maybe they should have came up with a more unique phrase to set off the detonator than "Happy New Year".

Not that I consider blowing yourself up to be overly intelligent, but cmon...

Re:Uniqueness (3, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033114)

I doubt it was that sophisticated; they probably just hooked up the wires for the ringer or vibrator to a detonator instead.

Re:Uniqueness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033334)

they should have had a custom ring and set it to vibrate. I think some phones can do that. Only calls from certain people will cause a ring the rest will vibrate.

Re:Uniqueness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033126)

I highly doubt that it read the fucking text message, they bought a disposable phone and set the trigger to go off if any text message came in. They (foolishly) assumed that since no one had the number, they wouldn't get any text messages. Then a message came in from the carrier and they got fucked.

Re:Uniqueness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033136)

It sounds like it was set to go off when the phone received a text message in general, not one with specific text...

Re:Uniqueness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033262)

How about "Merry Christmas" instead?

Re:Uniqueness (1)

jbuck (579032) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033414)

yeah. just wired to the vibrator motor leads probably. I mean, it wasn't sophisticated like the Knight Industries Two Thousand, it was a simple bomber jacket.

ha, I just made myself chuckle a little.

Countermeasure (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033052)

Interesting. I wonder if this delivery method will cause countermeasures to be used to prevent attacks?

Perhaps governments may look at shutting off text messages in a given area, or from a given set of towers, if they perceive a threat to the area.

Re:Countermeasure (4, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033188)

Bombs don't kill people. People kill people.

If you block text messages off in an area, only outlaws will have text messages.

end satire.

Re:Countermeasure (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033664)

Bombs don't kill people. People kill people.

If you block text messages off in an area, only outlaws will have text messages.

end satire.

People don`t kill people, text messages kill people... RTFA !!!

Re:Countermeasure (3)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033216)

God forbid. Cutting off communications in an area would also be the perfect way to quell descent or to turn an organized protest into a discrediting (for the protesters) riot. And/or disappear people whilst stopping them from telling others they're being arrested.

Re:Countermeasure (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033662)

Or how about just preventing people from calling for help if a bomb were to go off? Seems like it would do that, too.

Re:Countermeasure (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033638)

Or just send constant free "Terror Risk Updates" to an area, to "keep the population informed of the situation".

LOLZ!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033058)

I can see the spam now:
"B10w ur load urly?" Buy M3dic4l V1a6ra!!!

and in the usa you pay up to $0.25 per text for in (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033094)

and in the usa you pay up to $0.25 per text for incoming and you only choice is to block all texts or pay for a plan to get out of it.

Re:and in the usa you pay up to $0.25 per text for (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033178)

Well, this message came from the carrier. That one could have been free.

In Europe Only the sender pays a charge (exception: when you are in a foreign country).

Re:and in the usa you pay up to $0.25 per text for (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033194)

AFAIK, It's pretty much always been free to block SMS. I've done it on all cell plans I've had (various carriers over the past 10-12 years). They don't like to advertise / push it - but if you ask how they'll certainly tell you and it's not complicated.

After all, you should be in charge of your bill - not somebody spamming you w/ SMS texts.

My wife and I use google talk to get around lack of SMS, which ironically probably costs the telco more but costs us less.

Re:and in the usa you pay up to $0.25 per text for (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033674)

I pay $10 per month for unlimited text for me and my entire family. So I'm not sure where this "$0.25 per text" idea came from, unless you're an idiot who thinks that's somehow cheaper than the flat-rate plans that are available.

spam is no longer a "victimless crime". (5, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033096)

At least now they can't say that spam never killed anyone.

Re:spam is no longer a "victimless crime". (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033322)

actually we can all say now that spam saves lives! .... and there goes the neighborhood.

Ladies this goes to show... (1)

Falsify (1971140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033106)

Does't matter what type of female you are or what you do. You can never get away from those texting creepers that come around during the holidays!

Good (0, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033110)

How are we going to rid the world of ISLAM? These peopel make me despair, they won't be happy until they convert or kill us all. There isn't a country in the world that hasn't suffered from this religion of hate

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033146)

Why stop at Islam?

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033184)

Indeed - any fundie is a danger, no matter what invisible sky being they believe in

Re:Good (3, Informative)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033498)

Indeed - any fundie is a danger, no matter what invisible sky being they believe in

My impression is that there's a lot more justification (and impetus) for forcible world domination in the Q'uran than there is in the Bible.

Not that that stopped the Western European powers from using it as a justification. But I suspect it was more a pretense for most of those leaders, than it was anything driven by a desire to be good Christians.

Re:Good (0, Troll)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033212)

Because Islam burns people as witches.
Abuses underage boys and cover it up
Burn people for saying that the earth goes around the sun
Torture people to make them admit they're jews, then execute them.

Oh wait, wrong religion. Sorry. Carry on.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033376)

Why stop at Islam?

Because picking on unpopular groups is easier.

Force (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033570)

Islam isn't the problem. Religion isn't the problem. Force is the problem. Coercion. Violence. Theft. Fraud. In the absence of force, religion is harmless. In the absence of force, everything is harmless.

Force is the true root of all evil, because without force, there can be no evil. It's not logically possible, because force is what defines evil from beginning to end.

Instead of focusing on beliefs, culture, and trying to divide people into "teams" who are supposedly enemies, we should be looking precisely at where and how force is employed, and by whom. This is where the evil is, and this is what needs to stop. Islam doesn't need to stop. Religion doesn't need to stop. FORCE NEEDS TO STOP.

Now, how many of us are man enough to admit that for every human being murdered by a suicide bomber, governments have caused thousands of times more death and destruction? There's a reason why government wants you to believe that the problem is "Islam", rather than force alone.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033672)

Why stop at Islam?

Right, we can't take any chances. Kill everyone. Let God sort them out.

Re:Good (2, Informative)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033246)

Islam != terrorism.

Please study your religions. Islam is the world's most common religion; only a tiny fraction of its adherents are violent. It's just like saying "How are we going to get rid of Christianity? They wont be happy until they're raped all our children."

Re:Good (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033572)

And me without mod points. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but I imagine there's some group of people who are convincing the mainstream media to air only the unfriendly folks of the Islamic religion. Any extremist belief, be it in a god, policy, linux distro, etc., has the chance to decide they cannot persuade others to choose their path in a logical fashion. So they convince themselves that destruction is a good method. I used to think that there was generally a puppet master or twelve who had ulterior motives to just religious zealotry (money, power, fortune and glory), and these people would use the religious beliefs of others to abide their will (or simply say we'll pay your family X if you blow up A through W).

Lately, I've been thinking there are people who would actually blow themselves and others up in the name of their god. I really hope this isn't true cuz that's just dumb. Like 380 Verbal dumb.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033280)

How are we going to rid the world of CHRISTIANITY? These people make me despair, they won't be happy until they convert or kill us all. There isn't a country in the world that hasn't suffered from this religion of hate.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033328)

how in the hell has this been moded up? Trolling hate directed at 25% of the world's population (1.5 billion) based on the actions of *very* few. (it's estimated that al-Qaeda has no more than 1000 trained "operatives")

Racism about Islam does not help you (2, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033400)

How are we going to rid the world of ISLAM? These peopel make me despair, they won't be happy until they convert or kill us all. There isn't a country in the world that hasn't suffered from this religion of hate

You make me despair. How are we going to get rid of the STUPID people who, without blinking, generalize about a billion people? There isn't a country in the world that hasn't suffered from this racist stupidity.

Re:Racism about Islam does not help you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033690)

Islam is not a race.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033402)

There isn't a country in the world that hasn't suffered from this religion of hate

I'm from ireland, don't think we've "suffered from" Islam, had plenty of it from similar stupid religious crap

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033446)

How are we going to rid the world of ISLAM? These peopel make me despair, they won't be happy until they convert or kill us all. There isn't a country in the world that hasn't suffered from this religion of hate

My impression is that this has as much to do with Russian unpleasantness in Chechnya, as it does religion.

I'd be intersted to see how much "Islamic" terrorism the West and Russia faced if they stopped pissing on so many Muslims.

Re:Good (2)

o'reor (581921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033702)

I'd be intersted to see how much "Islamic" terrorism the West and Russia faced if they stopped pissing on so many Muslims.

Oh, we all know we'd be all much better off if, like the UK, we allowed shariah to rule our courthouses for our islamic communities.

But for some reason, some of us just can't get over with it and just move on. I'm told it has something to do with democracy, equal rights and social progress, whatever that means... [sarcasm inside]

Re:Good (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033648)

How are we going to rid the world of ISLAM

How are we going to rid the world of ignorant people who can't understnad that all people who believe in Islam are not terrorists and hate the western world. There are plenty of people (not peopel) in the world that interpret the Koran differently from terrorists that already have malice and hatred in their heart. And don't even get me started on all the bad shit the Catholic church has done in the past. You need to broaden your World view and let go of your own hatred.

Someone's got to say it.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033166)

In Soviet Russia, spam blocks you.

Re:Someone's got to say it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033610)

In Soviet Russia, spam deletes you.

Re:Someone's got to say it.... (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033614)

In Soviet Russia, spam blocks you.

I prefer:
In Soviet Russia, spam deletes you.
or
In Soviet Russia, SpamAssassin executes you.

Re:Someone's got to say it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033634)

+7, Funny.

If you're making a bomb anyway (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033170)

All it would take is a day's prep, an extra chip and 10 minutes of work to make it only blow up if, say, the message contains 5 a's. Tie the text out to something to check for the right 1's and 0's. This was shoddy workmanship.

Re:If you're making a bomb anyway (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033292)

Worse than that. Virtually any cheapass phone allows you to set specific ring/vibration combinations for specific numbers. Set the trigger number to "vibrate", connect the vibration motor driver to the detonation stage, and set the default to "silent". Should take 25 seconds or so. Maybe a few minutes if VZ designed the interface...

Re:If you're making a bomb anyway (5, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033384)

All it would take is a day's prep, an extra chip and 10 minutes of work to make it only blow up if, say, the message contains 5 a's. Tie the text out to something to check for the right 1's and 0's. This was shoddy workmanship.

You're talking about rudimentary programming for people who haven't even figured out that they could take the bomb off before detonating it. Gotta walk before you can run.

Re:If you're making a bomb anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033542)

That sounds like a lot of effort. Why not just have the bomber turn the phone off until she's in theater so your failyer mode goes from "total failyer and loss of agent" to "sub-optimal efficiency"?

Surprised they weren't doing *any* filtering (3, Insightful)

jaymz2k4 (790806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033318)

It seems rather dangerous to have it set off with any incoming SMS. You'd think they could've invested in the time to hook it to at least only respond to a particular number.

How about we send everybody a text (3, Insightful)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033354)

Ok, this will only work a few times, and soon the terrorists would find other ways to detonate....

Every now and then the phone company can randomly send a text message. Or, since the bomb is probably tied to the speaker, just send half a ring. just something small. And do it more often near holidays or major events where people gather (like, before the superbowl, send everyone a text message)

No need to send to EVERYONE, just everyone in areas where people gather...

Re:How about we send everybody a text (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033442)

No need to send to EVERYONE, just everyone in areas where people gather.

It's a bit late by that point, surely the idea is to trigger it before they get into an area where people gather...

ORLY? (0)

knetcomp (1611179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033372)

How could anyone know this happened? Did they interview the bomber's handler after the incident?

Re:ORLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033714)

How could anyone know this happened? Did they interview the bomber's handler after the incident?

No need to interview; simple forensic analysis.

For this type of bomb, the blasting cap is simply wired in place of the vibrate motor. There would be enough of the cellphone left after the explosion to determine that such was the case. Also, the you can determine from the sim card (or from cell tower records if the sim card is missing or unreadable) what cell phone it was. A simple record search for activity (either a call or a text) sent to that phone, correlated to the approximate time of the explosion, and you've connected the dots to a high degree of probability.

Money well spent (1)

lioc (832312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033436)

We spend a fortune on "security" but still one of the best methods appears to be to rely on the bombers themselves to screw it up as best they can. Shame that they are not more reliable at this.

US Lawmakers... (2)

Itesh (1901146) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033470)

February 2nd 2011
Associated Press

"Both houses of Congress passed a bill that requires all US Cell Phone companies to send one free text message every hour to all mobile phone user in the country." This controversial bill is aimed at stopping any attempted suicide bomber attacks. Opponents of the bill say...

Re:US Lawmakers... (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033606)

In related news, the cell phone bill of every person in the US is expected to go up by $5 per month beginning in March.

Seems to me... (5, Insightful)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033544)

It seems to me that this is finally a pretty good reason for having a feature enabled like call forwarding. Send the bloody message back to the handler instead.

</humor>

Quite frankly this has a darker story. The handler can't trust the person to push their own button, so the handler does it remotely without the persons consent. That would imply that a number of people have failed to do what they have been psychologically coerced to believe what their duty, when its not something they really wanted to do in the first place. Feelings of despair and insignificance are easily played upon by psychotic individuals.

OMG (4, Funny)

ed__ (23481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033554)

This story is hilarious! I'm gonna text it to all my terrorist friends right now!

Sad... (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033566)

Because 90% of women bombers are forced to do it. the scumbag Islamic terrorists either start killing their children, or threaten to kill their kids to make the woman do the deed. In fact a cellphone detonator means she could not be trusted to blow herself up so her Islamic torturer needed to have control of her death to make them happy.

All you flag wavers saying "dumb bitch" are uninformed as to how Utterly Disgraceful and lack of Honor these Islamic Terrorists are.

Re:Sad... (1)

TravisHein (981987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033660)

Right. How come her husband gets off easy by being put in jail. That only temporarily prevents him from doing this again, which most likely will when he gets out. If only he could just be executed.

Re:Sad... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033698)

In fact a cellphone detonator means she could not be trusted to blow herself

Good insight, Mr. Lumpy. I'm breaking my no-comments-until-they-fix-the-css pledge because this deserves it.

Re:Sad... (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033704)

I don't think anyone should be surprised when a woman chooses to blow up herself and some strangers instead of her children. I do not, however, think anyone should give her a free pass because her children were in danger. None of us is qualified to judge who is more deserving of life because none of us is omniscient. Therefore the only responsible thing to do in this situation is choose death for you and yours.

Or in short, choosing to become a suicide bomber instead of watching your family die is utterly disgraceful and lacks honor. You can condemn the act, however, without condeming the person (who is presumably aerosolized and heading off to meet the maker if there is such a thing.) That is, unless you have been in that position, it's a bit arrogant to be judging someone's decisions.

doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35033602)

"A suicide bomber's plan to detonate explosives in Central Moscow on New Year's Eve was foiled when she received an unexpected spam text message that caused her deadly payload to blow up too early .. The bomber's handler, who is usually watching his charge, sends the bomber a text message to set off the explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties"

Why the need to send a text msg to detonate the explosives when the suicidial carrier would presumably be happy to do it. How could the 'Security sources' could possibly know this, as the evidence is presumably destroyed. Anyone else get a happy new year msg from their carrier. Why don't I believe all this?

Happy New Year indeed! (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033624)

Well, the SMS made it a happy new year for lots of people who didn't loose their lives, limbs, friends or family (even if they don't know it).

Kinda like those Good Year ad's... "If it saves you once a year, it's a good year."

Couldn't have happened to a nicer person (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35033718)

That said, maybe all phones should be spammed with a test ring and a txt message every hour? Or basically rnd*60 after every previous random test.

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