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Cyber-Attacks?

michael posted more than 12 years ago

Security 373

Galahad2 writes "The Washington Post has a lengthy article about the Bush administration's fears of an Al Qaeda cyber attack on the nation's infrastructure. Though we have all seen this sort of attack as a possiblity for a long time, I'm having a hard time believing that Al Qaeda is capable of anything along these lines." You're not the only one. The article does cite an example of the only known infrastructure attack, a case in Australia where a consultant used his inside knowledge of a local sewage treatment system to dump raw sewage, hoping for a contract to solve the problem he created.

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373 comments

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I just can't stop dancing! (-1, Offtopic)

thedanceman (582570) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777392)

Watch me get down!!

Re:I just can't stop dancing! (-1)

on by (572414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777398)

fuck off 'dancing queen' you fucking faggot!@#!@#$ go rape john travolta on his big jumbo jet, queer boi!#!@!@#$!

Question... (-1)

on by (572414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777393)

Am I unbanned yet???? huh??? well??

Didn't Yugoslavia disrupt a NATO e-mail server? (1)

TheAlabamaKid (243687) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777396)

I thought that was a cyber attack during that war. Examples of terrorism would be numerous.

Re:Didn't Yugoslavia disrupt a NATO e-mail server? (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777564)

Yugoslavia doesn't exist, it is an invention from occidental countries.

smells like home (1)

manofherb (211786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777402)

raw sewage being dumped by a hax0r sounds like home except it's most-hated corp. #2 next to mssoft....ibp/tyson foods.

Tienes #1 baby!

Good timing for Palladium (2, Redundant)

Peter Clary (34038) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777407)

Of course, once all computer systems are run on Microsoft's forthcoming Palladium system then such attacks will be completely impossible. Obviously the correct response to this potential threat is to outlaw any OS that does not have Palladium security.

Re:Good timing for Palladium (3, Funny)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777451)

And detain all known contributors to any "terrorist" operating systems in military prison camp. Don't forget to do that.

Think about the children

Palladium? (1)

MADCOWbeserk (515545) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777498)

"Palladium"=Drug infested Manhattan raver club in the early 90's. It was shut down by Uncle Sam along with Limelite and Tunnel.

Now I feel really old, a new MS OS makes me remember obscure places I was 10 years ago.

What is printed in the tiny legal type below the l (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777409)

If a similar law were passed here then would that make it illegal to attack an enemy's computerized systems as well? Say if the CIA tried to cripple an Al-Qaeda sympathizer's system. Further would that make it illegal for an RIAA-style attempt to perform DoS attacks on services or sites offering music that the RIAA insists are protected?

This has happened (1)

MADCOWbeserk (515545) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777475)

Israeli hackers haved atttacked PLO sites for a while.

Re:This has happened (2)

perlyking (198166) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777616)

You mean they have attacked palestinian linked sites, and vice versa. Sad really.

Arabian money transfer (2, Funny)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777411)

So that's why I've been getting these .ag spams...

Nope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777416)

Those are from Antigua.

Believing (3, Insightful)

saphena (322272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777414)

I'm having a hard time believing that Al Qaeda is capable of anything along these lines.



I had a hard time believing the events on September 11th even whilst they were happening!

As they say... "not bloody likely" (2, Funny)

NiGHTSFTP (515896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777415)

They have to resort to flying planes into buildings as weapons, and you expect them to be able to what? Use a computer?

They all use iBooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777424)

With an araboc version of Mozilla.

Re:They all use iBooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777431)

You misspelled "Aribic". Go back to school, loser.

It's 'Arabic' dumbass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777436)

laughing my beard off

Head off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777447)

Head is not spelled with a B.

Re:Head off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777463)

I think 'beard' was supposed to be a joke about Arabs, but it's not funny. Now if he had said turban - now that's funny. 'Laughing my turban off' -get it?

Re:Head off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777474)

What would be even funnier is if he said, "I'm laughing my yamaka off"

Yaumulka off - LOL (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777486)

Now you've got me laughing my burqa off.

Re:Yaumulka off - LOL (1)

Ashell (588328) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777589)

Well... what was that again!!! ..

Re:It's 'Arabic' dumbass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777579)

lol, i knew those beards were fake

Re:As they say... "not bloody likely" (1)

yatest5 (455123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777611)

They have to resort to flying planes into buildings as weapons, and you expect them to be able to what? Use a computer?

You what? Is hijacking a plane easy then? Ooohh, those thicky thicky foreigners can't do anything against the great intelligent people of the US - I think this is the attitude that led to the problems in the first place...

yep sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777427)

Religious fundamentalist group which believes knowledge of technology comes from the devil, launches cyber attack.

Inconceivable? (1)

molrak (541582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777430)

Prior to September 11th, 2001, it was inconceivable that anyone would be capable of using airplanes as guided missiles and then fly them into buildings. Look where we are now.

Re:Inconceivable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777449)

It was only inconceivable if you didn't see movies, television, read books, or in the case of government - if you completely ignored all intelligence warnings.
It was also completely inconceivable that America would be attacked if you believe that the flag actually stands for something other than Made in China and bought at Walmart. Further, if you believe that you should also believe that the Bill of Rights is selective in it's application in regards to American citizens and that the Saudi's are our friends.
In conclusion, please let me sell you some penis enlargement devices via email and human pheremones via paypal. I also have a good investment plan via an African government official who needs your assistance getting his money out of the country.

Re:Inconceivable? (5, Insightful)

red5 (51324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777470)

Prior to September 11th, 2001, it was inconceivable that anyone would be capable of using airplanes as guided missiles and then fly them into buildings. Look where we are now.

Okay what about kamikaze?

"Those that don't learn from history are doomed to be beat to hell by those who do. " -- red5

Re:Inconceivable? (4, Funny)

spike2131 (468840) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777594)

They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

Re:Inconceivable? (1)

tuxedo-steve (33545) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777484)

Prior to September 11th, 2001, it was inconceivable that anyone would be capable of using airplanes as guided missiles and then fly them into buildings.

It's also inconceivable that anyone might be capable of using a US submarine as a guided missile and flying it into a building. Or a flock of pigs, for that matter. Who knows when these preconceptions may be challenged?

I think that this Satirewire article [satirewire.com] put it best.

Re:Inconceivable? (1)

PsychoElf (571371) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777544)

Oh, is that why the Twin towers were built to actually withstand the accidental crash of 737's (not 747's, which were used). The engineers who designed the building had planned for such events, thinking it would be accidental. The only reason they collapsed was from the heat.

Re:Inconceivable? (2)

perlyking (198166) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777598)

No it wasnt inconceivable, not by a long shot. The plot of the first episode of "The Lone Gunmen" was about just that, even the correct building!
In fact it was more believable than what is alleged to have really happened.

Forgotten Y2K fiasco already ? (2, Interesting)

evil_roy (241455) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777432)

hoping for a contract to solve the problem he created.

Isn't this exactly what happened with y2k ? Consultants talked up a problem in the hope of being paid to "fix" it.

It's not so unique

Re:Forgotten Y2K fiasco already ? (3, Interesting)

red5 (51324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777482)

Isn't this exactly what happened with y2k ? Consultants talked up a problem in the hope of being paid to "fix" it.

Whats even more funny is that I remember an incident of a sewage spill during a y2k test in Australia. Is this the same incident?

Re:Forgotten Y2K fiasco already ? (0, Flamebait)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777535)

Osama Bin Laden has a lot of money and he can hire the brightest hackers on the planet to come after your information systems. :-)

Re:Forgotten Y2K fiasco already ? (5, Insightful)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777537)

Y2K is called a fiasco because work was done and there were no disasters. People talked about it, spent money checking systems, upgrading systems, fixing problems before the event. No great disaster so all of this was in vain. A hoax. A fiasco.

If the work hadn't been done and there had been disasters wouldn't that have been a greater fiasco?

Situations like this are a no-win. If you do the work and fix problems, you've talked up the problem to get work. If you do nothing and their are problems you are negligent.

Choose now.

And for Dr Who fans out there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777435)

A Cyber-attack?

Excellent!

Smart Move... (5, Funny)

Howzer (580315) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777437)

This, and several other even less plausible recent "possible attack" stories look to me like a classic "cover your arse" move from the White House. The conversation in the "war-room" probably went something like this:

Flak 1: "Hey, we're really getting pasted over the fact that we "knew about" 9-11 and didn't warn anyone."
Solemn pause as the room thinks. Scratching of heads, etc.
Flak 2: "I know, let's warn everyone about every possible type of attack, so that if and when the next one occurs we can say..."
Flak 1: "... I told you so?! That's brilliant! Bob, call your guy at the Post and see if you can sell that cyber attack story. Frank, get the Times on the phone, tell them ... oh you'll think of something! Ted, start posting stories on Slashdot; those hackers suck up every meme that's going..."
Scene of chaos as flunkies run in every direction to Flak 1's barked commands.

Something like that, right?

more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777448)

Flak 1: Make sure you clear all this with the Vatican first!

LOL!! [eom] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777459)

[eom]

A quote from Assistant Secretary of Defense thing (5, Funny)

aelvin (265451) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777440)

"DCS and SCADA systems might be accessible to bits and bytes," Assistant Secretary of Defense John P. Stenbit said in an interview. But al Qaeda prefers simple, reliable plans and would not allow the success of a large-scale attack "to be dependent on some sophisticated, tricky cyber thing to work."

I don't know whether to be more concerned about a potential cyber attack or the fact that the Assistant Secretary of Defense refers to critical infrastructure as "some sophisticated, tricky cyber thing."

Why is this stuff on the internet? (0)

Drunken Coward (574991) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777442)

From the Middle East and South Asia, unknown browsers were exploring the digital systems used to manage Bay Area utilities and government offices.

... the visitors studied emergency telephone systems, electrical generation and transmission, water storage and distribution, nuclear power plants and gas facilities.

Allowing anyone access to this is just asking for trouble. I really don't think it would be hard to keep machines that store sensitive material like this off the internet.

First time that crapflooding will be on-topic ! (2)

evil_roy (241455) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777444)

A genuine crapflood!

Why is important infrastructure online? (5, Insightful)

khym (117618) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777450)

Why are any of the computers controlling national infrastructure on the Internet or available via modem? Anything that important should be completely cut off from the outside world.

Re:Why is important infrastructure online? (1)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777572)

This is the /. ideal world.

In the real world people have to maintain systems, systems are distributed through the country/world, often in remote environments. It's not cost effective to employ a skilled individual to be on-site at each and every location so some remote access is necessary. The important thing is to balance the risks and take adequate security measures.

Yes, the only way to secure a system is to stop it being connected to anything. However gathering remote monitoring information, or controlling a railway switch, isn't going to work very well that way :)

Re:Why is important infrastructure online? (1)

TTL0 (546351) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777646)

Oh buls**t ! are VPNs, firewalls, dedicated IPs and other readily inexpensive methods of securing networks so expensive that the "National Infrastructure" companies can't afford them ? Even an OTP scheme could be done on the cheap. What is the yearly profit/budget of these places that they can't afford to even implement even the most basic security measures ?!?!?

Re:Why is important infrastructure online? (2, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777653)

It's not cost effective to employ a skilled individual to be on-site at each and every location so some remote access is necessary.

And there, in that very sentence, is one of the primary reasons why capitalism sucks.

"So what if remote access allows a potential portal for abuse, so long as we're saving money it doesn't matter!"

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I guess somebody, somwhere, with a very large brain and an economics degree to keep him company, thought that one up

Do you capitalize 'the department'? (1)

ascending (179800) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777453)

What exactly is The Department? Is it a top-secret red-phone bearing governmental entity?

Re:Do you capitalize 'the department'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777607)

The phone is not red.

The crow flies in the dell.

An all out DoS attack? (2, Flamebait)

Lonath (249354) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777454)

So might this be an all-out DoS attack looking to shut down the spread of the fruits of the decadent, imperialist American culture? Would they try to clog the networks so that people can't share any type of creative endeavour that represents the freedom that all Americans enjoy? Oh wait. That would be these people. [riaa.org] My bad. Move along. Nothing to see here. I get those groups trying to subvert freedom at all costs in pursuit of their twisted ideology confused sometimes. (NB: I am not condoning piracy. But you shouldn't let companies engage in the kinds of activities that terrorits might do. :P) Also, is there a new version of Godwin's law relating to calling someone a terrorist?

The Obvious Question (2)

ewhac (5844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777455)

What kind of fscking imbecile allows critical infrastructure control systems to be connected to the Internet?

This is a complete non-issue. There are no critical systems connected to the Internet. (Any that are need to have their plugs yanked and their admins fired, even if we weren't in the middle of an undeclared war.) This smells to me like a red herring for the Administration to grant itself more sweeping powers of warrantless surveillance and intrusion.

I wonder what Austria's immigration policies are like?

Schwab

Re:The Obvious Question (2)

kigrwik (462930) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777513)

> What kind of fscking imbecile allows critical
> infrastructure control systems to be connected
> to the Internet?

A truly fscking imbecile.

However, some computer systems *have* to be hooked up. And once they are 0wn3d, they *have* to be cleansed. Thus using up time and manpower that could best be used somewhere else.

Besides being a PITA, it would also be a PR victory for the other side if they succeeded in "cracking the US military's servers". (never mind if it's not critical, out of the inner network, with no information on it).

So it's really a "red herring", yes. Do not fear for your "national security", but fear for your national pride :)

Re:The Obvious Question (1)

geirhe (587392) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777552)

This is a complete non-issue. There are no critical systems connected to the Internet.
I have to bow to such expertise. I haven't got enough knowledge to make statements like this. I can't even make assumptions that cyber attacks have to be started using the 'net since I don't know anything about the systems involved.

However, power companies in several countries are using network-based information gathering to bill and control delivery to their large-scale customers. This information is sent over power lines which cross open terrain. I can see several scenarios where changing this information would cause trouble.

Re:The Obvious Question (3, Informative)

guttentag (313541) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777560)

What kind of fscking imbecile allows critical infrastructure control systems to be connected to the Internet?
I don't know, maybe the same kind of person who would code infrastructure control systems to rely on only the last two digits of a date's year.

I'm sure there are people who have a Web interface set up for some seemingly non-critical facet (though there probably aren't many cases of "Look Honey, I can manage the dam's intake system from my iBook in the backyard!"), but there is probably a greater number of people who use the Internet for some communication/reporting feature ("Hey, I'm encrypting all transmissions, I'm using port 18937, I'm not publishing this info on a Web site and I'm not controlling the infrastructure in any way through this interface, so I should be safe."). Should such people be running infrastructure control systems? No. Does that mean they're not running these systems? No.

I think the article's primary purpose is to send a "Hey, infrastructure engineers, this means YOU" (or "does that guy who works for you have infrastructure controls connected to the Internet? Ask him.") message to people who think they're already covered.

Re:The Obvious Question (2)

Observer (91365) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777642)

What kind of fscking imbecile allows critical infrastructure control systems to be
connected to the Internet?
Individuals whose career prospects can be heavily affected by pressure from elected politicians and other PHBs to cut costs, perhaps?

The WP story claims that some intrusion tests into important infrastructure controls have been carried out and that the intruders were typically able to gain access. And there's this interesting comment on page 4 of the piece:

... But many of the
[SCADA remotely-operable control] systems rely on instantaneous responses and cannot tolerate authentication delays. And the devices deployed now lack the memory and bandwidth to use techniques such as "integrity checks" that are standard elsewhere.
One could reasonably hope that such systems would be on redundant dedicated control connections, for pity's sake. Or - if you're going to use the Internet for such critical control information (and for all I know it may well make sense, at least as a backup) then have them connected via a robust black box that does have the resources to operate a continuous dedicated secure Internet connection, and which then controls the SCADA systems through a local direct link.

<Oliver Hardy>Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten us into, Stanley</Oliver Hardy>

Sprint Nevada? (3, Funny)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777456)

From the article,
Unsettling signs of al Qaeda's aims and skills in cyberspace have led some government experts to conclude that terrorists are at the threshold of using the Internet as a direct instrument of bloodshed.
Fortunately, Sprint Nevada has absolutely no holes in their network! The claims that an attack would take place in Las Vegas on July 4th are clearly bogus ;)

Shaun

The internet is so killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777472)

'Using the Internet as a direct instrument of bloodshed.' What? Playing Quake?

Riiiight... (1)

Ambush (120586) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777461)

From the Middle East and South Asia, unknown browsers were exploring the digital systems used to manage Bay Area utilities and government offices.

Why do I get the feeling that someone is using this as an opportunity to enforce only a limited set of browsers to access gov't (or any IIS based) web sites? Just a conspiracy^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hthought.

terrorists are at the threshold of using the Internet as a direct instrument of bloodshed.

It's amazing how stupid the media assumes their viewers/readers are. How can the Internet be possibly (read: realisticaly) used as an instrument of bloodshed?

Unbelievable...

Re:Riiiight... (1)

lysacor (237887) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777582)

You are absolutely correct, but remember the media assumes that most readers are on the average of 8th-11th grade reading skills with a 50 percent chance of graduation in high school, remember they are primarily the ones who fuel the mass hysteria that is the internet and make it the "dangerous" place it is today. Hackers (crackers really) are not the problem, it is the media trying to describe the exploration of the general internet and networks that connect to it willingly (note I said willingly). And blame the entire technically savvy populace for the actions of the few bad apples who do actual harm to their precious "business network". Enough of my rant, I will let the moderators decide if this is so offtopic.

Hey! I submitted this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777465)

under the title "All your Turds ARE Belong to Us"! I thought slashdot was supposed to reward senstationalism! And that was months ago, unless my sense of time is off.

Capabilities (1)

Hellkitten (574820) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777467)

I'm having a hard time believing that Al Qaeda is capable of anything along these lines.

The poster seems to think that Terrorst == Stupid. Unfortunately this is not so, if all terrorists were stupid they would be easier to catch

Al Quaeda certainly have the possibilities to learn the skills nessesary, if they haven't already. If what I hear is correct then pulling of a DoS attack wouldn't be that hard. How much skill would it take to take control of a few thousand computers with modems, and set them up with a program to repeteadly call 911?

This threat should be taken seriously, but how much should we allow it to change our lives?

The best thing to do would be for the USA to change it's foreign policy to one that doesn't create as many enemies.

Re:Capabilities (1)

cyberon22 (456844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777654)

This is a really interesting point, because this vulnerability wouldn't be so problematic with a partially digital system. Yes, a DOS attack on emergency services would be horrible, but would also be fairly easy to find the offending/trojaned machines and shut them down. If the boxes were outside the US, the government could even order all international network connections cut in a worse case scenario.

And I suspect THAT possibility would create a strong incentive for certain states to be more cooperating in combating cyber-terrorism.

Help! (1)

new death barbie (240326) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777469)


I have to type softly, so he won't hear me...a swarthy bearded man wearing a turban broke into my bedroom and threatened me with a boxcutter if I didn't use my computer to launch a DOS attack against the Pentagon, in the name of Allah...I don't know what he'll do if he finds out I don't have an Internet connection...

Never mind... (1)

new death barbie (240326) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777493)

I showed him how to sign up for AOL. He's harmless now...

Re:Help! (1)

Hellkitten (574820) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777525)

I don't know what you'll do when you find out that you do have an internet connection

Or are you posting through the "slashdot by snail mail so that echelon doesn't see you" subscription that was announced a while back=

the real terrorists are governments and media (5, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777473)

Government experts and the media are bombarding us with possible scenarios: smallpox sprayed from crop dusters, terrorist attacks shutting down our stock markets, dirty bombs in New York harbor, nuclear missiles raining down from God-knows-where, etc.

Why do they do that? Certainly not to improve our life expectancy or security. If we wanted to do that, spending $280 billion on public health and education would save a lot more lives than a missile defense system even in the unlikely event that we were attacked and that the system worked. If we are worried about attacks on our financial system, stopping crooks like Enron and WorldCom executives would be a whole lot less trouble and costly, not to mention less threatening to our civil liberties; Osama sending a Microsoft Word virus out of his cave pales in comparison to what a single felonious US executive can achieve.

No, people create fear in order to gain power. That's true for Afghan terrorists as much as for the US government and the media. Creating fear gives people power and it allows politicians to move billions of dollars to their favorite campaign contributors.

Folks, life is dangerous: live with it. And learn to evaluate risks and spend dollars wisely on prevention. Nearly 50000 people die each year in the US in traffic accidents, more Americans than in the entire Vietnam War. Cars cause even more deaths each year from pollution. Smoking causes 440000 premature deaths each year. Obesity causes about 280000 premature deaths each year. (Data comes mostly from JAMA.) Those are all easily preventable, with better education, reduced stress, and a better transportation infrastructure. Instead, however, we get worked up about obscure threats and spend enormous amounts of money on anti-terrorist measures and military hardware that will almost certainly not protect us anyway.

In the literal meaning of "terrorist"--people who create terror for power--governments and the media are way ahead of any third rate coward in some cave halfway around the world. Hold the people who spread fear accountable the next time you go to the ballot box.

Re:the real terrorists are governments and media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777517)

Very well said.

Yes, public mind control and the good old utopism, censorship and patriotism in a different form.

Re:the real terrorists are governments and media (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777593)

There's a lot of truth in this. For a balanced, well-written (and refreshingly non-conspiracy-nut) view on government-controlled media , read the article Sept11: Unanswered Questions [communitycurrency.org] by MalcontentX (this is the article that gave rise to a recent press conference attended by families of Sept11 victims).

The cyber-attacks that should be taking place are ones that alert the public to articles such as this one and encourage them to question the official line of everything they think they know. Imagine how enlightening it could be for a link to the above article to mysteriously appear on the front page of CNN.com....

Trolling 101: Building the Perfect Troll by pwpbot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777478)

A while back Don Henley created an album called Building the Perfect Beast His first solo album it surprised many with tracks like Sunset Grill All She Wants To Do Is Dance my favorite Driving With Your Eyes Closed and Jon Katzs favorite Boys of Summer I was listening to this album on illegallyripped MP3s while reading the Slashdot trolls and started brainstorming what would make the perfect troll This article serves as a directed introduction to building the perfect trollFirst we need to define trolling This is harder than it sounds because everyone has their own definition of a troll or better their own definition of a good troll I am going to use multiple definitions to create a very broad ideal of the term troll Any post that meets ONE of the definitions below is considered a trolla A message widely regarded as an annoyanceb A message which insults the editors with no regard to meritc A message which flames another user for their viewsd Any message which is designed to enrage the standard slashdot userFor the purposes of this post a good troll is one that spawns many angry responses There are other sides of trolling such as crapflooding which do not generate any responses usually These sorts of trolls are out of the scope of this articleThere are 6 dimensions of a good troll annoyance arguability subtlety topicality logicality and permeance By NO means should a good troll use only one dimension although some dimensions are inherently contradictory using as many as possible will result in a good trollAnnoyanceThis is the allstar of the troll spectrum Racial comments page wideninglengthing misinformation deragatory comments etc all are considered an annoyance But be careful The common pitfall is the annoyance is used to frequently and too loudly Subtlety is a necessity if you are going to use this with any sort of success read more about this below Here are some examples of good and bad annoyancesBad You stupid fucking nigger Im going to kick your faggot ass if I ever see you you shitface cocksucking animal This will be modded down immediately and will probably not be responded to This message will largely be ignored thus limiting the troll affectPosting factual inaccuracies is great when combined with annoyance the Slashdots will fall over themselves correcting your every moveGood Its posts like these that question the education system of America If you were paying any attention at school you would know that the South won the Civil War because of their views no slavery It was Abraham Lincolns last stand at Gettysburg that caused Slavery to go awayMaking references to your education as proof that you are right is excellent especially when in your troll you make it obvious that you dont have anyBad I studied this topic in great depth when writing my PhD thesis at MIT As it turns out the limiting factor of sorting function with completely randomized data Good Oh I took a class about this at the DeVry Institute According to the reseptionist notice intentionally bad spelling the integral of ex2 is ex so its got to be rightArguabilityPosts such as You fucking faggot Im going to kill you has no element of arguability You want to post a view in an inflammatory way that will incite a great argument There is a right way and a wrong way to doing this Usually if you are outright cursing at the poster or editor its the wrong wayExamplesBad You worthless piece of horseshit Your views are wrong jackassGood This study post link to mostly irrelevant and offtopic study indicates there is a strong correlation between deviance and Linux usersDrawing illogical conclusions based on incorrect statements is a great way to instate a nerd riot ExampleGood When ESR said that Windows is losing clientelle he used intentionally bad grammar which is inherent proof that his ideals are flawedPermeanceQuestion If a troll posts a troll and no one reads it is it still a troll Answer NoA troll can only have so much longevity I call this principle permeance Permeance is judged by the number of people who will see and read a post and to a lesser extent respond to it Good formatting grammar and spelling all contribute to a posts permeance but the real factor is contentMost of you spend a lot of time reading at 1 presumably so you will know that a fair amount of racist and antisemetic comments are posted Most Slashdot users will not see these because they are at 1 klercks PLP and PWP are ultimately a failure because few see themTo maximize permeance you have to 1 Sound like you now what you are talking about 2 Sound like you have a stake in your point of view maening you care about what you think and 3 Express it without homophobia any sort of racism and discrimination You will see that trolls at 1 and even 2 use this principle You will see that trolls at 0 and 1 do not use this principle This brings us toFirst Fundamental Theorem of Trolling Anonymous Cowards by definition rarely succeed in posting a good trollSecond Fundamental Theorem of Trolling If an AC succeeds in a good troll it would even be better if it were posted at 1 or 2 by default SubtletyCertain posts SCREAM This is a troll Please ignore it These are not successful trolls As a troll your every urge is to scream YOU FUCKING FAGGOT HOW CAN YOU THINK THE WAY YOU DO to the Slashbot homos Resist this at every cost You need to diplomatically insult them Its hard I know but it will result in success GOOD PHRASESYou should know by now that Havent you learned anything from eventWhat a stereotypical viewWas this post sarcasticI cant believe the level of ignorance of that point of viewTopicalityThis is a nobrainer and therefore Im not going to spend much time discussing it Why do you think BSD is Dying trolls rarely get responses when they are posted under one of Jon Katzs articlesLogicalityDid I make that word up Probably But its principle is still important use every logical fallacy that you know of when writing trolls Jump to illogical conclusions Misquote or misrepresent parents posts when responding Make references to studies linking them to a 404 not found page You get the idea This one isnt hard to introduce but its wildly successful in getting Slashcock responsesThis is a brief introduction to the good trolling Soon I will post an article about combining dimensions and look at some good and bad trolls in the past

-pwpbot

OBL's Secretaries (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777485)

Osama Bin Laden must be keeping a few dozen secretaries employed copying down all these brilliant attack ideas the FBI/CIA/etc keep coming up with and telling everyone about. Just look for recruitment firms in Pakistan that have placed a lot of secretaries lately and you've got him.

Trolling 101: Building the Perfect Troll by pwpbot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777487)

A while back Don Henley created an album called Building the Perfect Beast His first solo album it surprised many with tracks like Sunset Grill All She Wants To Do Is Dance my favorite Driving With Your Eyes Closed and Jon Katzs favorite Boys of Summer I was listening to this album on illegallyripped MP3s while reading the Slashdot trolls and started brainstorming what would make the perfect troll This article serves as a directed introduction to building the perfect trollFirst we need to define trolling This is harder than it sounds because everyone has their own definition of a troll or better their own definition of a good troll I am going to use multiple definitions to create a very broad ideal of the term troll Any post that meets ONE of the definitions below is considered a trolla A message widely regarded as an annoyanceb A message which insults the editors with no regard to meritc A message which flames another user for their viewsd Any message which is designed to enrage the standard slashdot userFor the purposes of this post a good troll is one that spawns many angry responses There are other sides of trolling such as crapflooding which do not generate any responses usually These sorts of trolls are out of the scope of this articleThere are 6 dimensions of a good troll annoyance arguability subtlety topicality logicality and permeance By NO means should a good troll use only one dimension although some dimensions are inherently contradictory using as many as possible will result in a good trollAnnoyanceThis is the allstar of the troll spectrum Racial comments page wideninglengthing misinformation deragatory comments etc all are considered an annoyance But be careful The common pitfall is the annoyance is used to frequently and too loudly Subtlety is a necessity if you are going to use this with any sort of success read more about this below Here are some examples of good and bad annoyancesBad You stupid fucking nigger Im going to kick your faggot ass if I ever see you you shitface cocksucking animal This will be modded down immediately and will probably not be responded to This message will largely be ignored thus limiting the troll affectPosting factual inaccuracies is great when combined with annoyance the Slashdots will fall over themselves correcting your every moveGood Its posts like these that question the education system of America If you were paying any attention at school you would know that the South won the Civil War because of their views no slavery It was Abraham Lincolns last stand at Gettysburg that caused Slavery to go awayMaking references to your education as proof that you are right is excellent especially when in your troll you make it obvious that you dont have anyBad I studied this topic in great depth when writing my PhD thesis at MIT As it turns out the limiting factor of sorting function with completely randomized data Good Oh I took a class about this at the DeVry Institute According to the reseptionist notice intentionally bad spelling the integral of ex2 is ex so its got to be rightArguabilityPosts such as You fucking faggot Im going to kill you has no element of arguability You want to post a view in an inflammatory way that will incite a great argument There is a right way and a wrong way to doing this Usually if you are outright cursing at the poster or editor its the wrong wayExamplesBad You worthless piece of horseshit Your views are wrong jackassGood This study post link to mostly irrelevant and offtopic study indicates there is a strong correlation between deviance and Linux usersDrawing illogical conclusions based on incorrect statements is a great way to instate a nerd riot ExampleGood When ESR said that Windows is losing clientelle he used intentionally bad grammar which is inherent proof that his ideals are flawedPermeanceQuestion If a troll posts a troll and no one reads it is it still a troll Answer NoA troll can only have so much longevity I call this principle permeance Permeance is judged by the number of people who will see and read a post and to a lesser extent respond to it Good formatting grammar and spelling all contribute to a posts permeance but the real factor is contentMost of you spend a lot of time reading at 1 presumably so you will know that a fair amount of racist and antisemetic comments are posted Most Slashdot users will not see these because they are at 1 klercks PLP and PWP are ultimately a failure because few see themTo maximize permeance you have to 1 Sound like you now what you are talking about 2 Sound like you have a stake in your point of view maening you care about what you think and 3 Express it without homophobia any sort of racism and discrimination You will see that trolls at 1 and even 2 use this principle You will see that trolls at 0 and 1 do not use this principle This brings us toFirst Fundamental Theorem of Trolling Anonymous Cowards by definition rarely succeed in posting a good trollSecond Fundamental Theorem of Trolling If an AC succeeds in a good troll it would even be better if it were posted at 1 or 2 by default SubtletyCertain posts SCREAM This is a troll Please ignore it These are not successful trolls As a troll your every urge is to scream YOU FUCKING FAGGOT HOW CAN YOU THINK THE WAY YOU DO to the Slashbot homos Resist this at every cost You need to diplomatically insult them Its hard I know but it will result in success GOOD PHRASESYou should know by now that Havent you learned anything from eventWhat a stereotypical viewWas this post sarcasticI cant believe the level of ignorance of that point of viewTopicalityThis is a nobrainer and therefore Im not going to spend much time discussing it Why do you think BSD is Dying trolls rarely get responses when they are posted under one of Jon Katzs articlesLogicalityDid I make that word up Probably But its principle is still important use every logical fallacy that you know of when writing trolls Jump to illogical conclusions Misquote or misrepresent parents posts when responding Make references to studies linking them to a 404 not found page You get the idea This one isnt hard to introduce but its wildly successful in getting Slashcock responsesThis is a brief introduction to the good trolling Soon I will post an article about combining dimensions and look at some good and bad trolls in the past

-pwpbot

FUD (2)

Kasreyn (233624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777488)

And the WP journalist responsible for this trash ought to be horsewhipped. As if we need more hysteria about the internet right now.

Anyone who thinks a few religious fanatics hiding in caves somewhere can take the internet down has another think coming. Or, to paraphrase Emperor Palpatine, "The infrastructure is quite safe from your pitiful little band."

-Kasreyn

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777538)

Anyone who thinks a few religious fanatics hiding in caves somewhere can take the internet down has another think coming. Or, to paraphrase Emperor Palpatine, "The infrastructure is quite safe from your pitiful little band."

You're probably right, but that pitiful little band DID destroy the Death Star, now didn't it?! :P

maybe not as far fetched as it sounds... (1)

psycho_tinman (313601) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777496)

Well, no one thought Sept. 11th was gonna happen either...

But why are ppl thinking that the ONLY way to disrupt the cyber infrastructure is through cracking into systems ? As the article mentions, physical attacks to disrupt infrastructure can do as much damage as any other way..

Even now, router outages that cause entire swatches of traffic to be rerouted (with the resulting overload on other routes) are not uncommon.. What's to stop a couple of hits on major ISP server farms ? that would certainly bring MOST of the net to a grinding halt..

Better yet, how about disruption to some backbone servers ? Its not a "cyber" attack, but the services are going to be disrupted all the same...

These are terrorists.. they only need to strike once and then they can just sit back and watch as security forces scramble to protect every possible area (which is just going to cost a lot of money and time, you just can't guard everything)

Cyberwar in Oceana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777511)

Newsflash from Airstrip One:

ALERT:

The cyber experts at Airstrip One have intercepted plans for an attack against the cyber-infrastructure of the Homeland.

What about the Air Gap (1, Redundant)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777523)

Aren't all mission critical infrastructure stuff like defense, air traffic, power, etc. supposed to have "air-gaps"? Ie, they are physically separate and completely inaccessible from the Internet and other public nets. I thought it was standard security practice, or am I wrong.

It's hard to believe that anyone would put something important accessible online, but then you never know... are people really that dumb???!

There seems to be no intelligence in CIA... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777524)

... if they say:
One al Qaeda laptop found in Afghanistan, sources said, had made multiple visits to a French site run by the Societé Anonyme, or Anonymous Society.
Societé Anonyme, or SA, is French equivalent of Incorporated Company. Not a secret society...

"We found a laptop that has visited a site of an Incorporated Company!"
"Oooooh, scary!"

Heck, even Amazon.fr is a SA, and they also sell books...

Re:There seems to be no intelligence in CIA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777639)

Heck, even Amazon.fr is a SA, and they also sell books...

Books am dangerous!

Enywhey, ever'thing ya needs to know is in th' Good Book!

Ain't no reasun ta be readin' enything else, and it's mighty suspicious ifen ya is! Anything else ya read is either duplicatin' the Good Book, an' you don' need it, or it's contrary to the Good Book an' it needs to be burned!

And dontcha know, terrorists read books! Ya ain't one them terrorists is ya? Yessir, they read them books, and then they do terrorist things, too, like question the gummint an' Hilary Rosen an' talk that Latin mumbo-jumbo 'bout habing us corpses an' that Fourth 'Mendment.

Why we need four 'menments enywhey, when we ain't even got us a "Amurikkka is a Christian Nation, You'll God-dam Well Say 'One Nation Under God' You Commie Pinko Quaker Allah-Loving Athiest" and a 'Burn My Flag and I'll Lynch You!' 'memdments?

Nah, I says, be on the safe side ann' assume enywhun buyin' books is jus' a damn terrorist, a damn enemy combatant terrorist and lock 'em up an' throw any that key!

God Bless Amurikka!

Re:There seems to be no intelligence in CIA... (1)

olethrosdc (584207) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777640)

Hm.. "sources said"... remember, this is a journalist... who heard this by other journalists... probably.. knowing that a journalist's intelligence is abysmally low.. plus the fact that this is an American newspaper...

Typical journalist approach:
1. You hear a catch-phrase (societe anonyme)
2. You make a guess as to what it means - it is this strange 'french' language (eught)..
3. You do not try to check it up, or ask somebody (you? A journalist? ask?... tsk tsk)

The weird thing is that "Staff researcher Robert Thomason contributed to this report"

Hm.. well.. I guess that means that he was just nodding as the other guy was reading aloud or something

Al Qaeda has formed their own Accountancy Firm! (1)

EvilBastard (77954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777529)

Arthur Anderson is a front company for Al Qaeda ? You could say that they sure aided in a major attack on the Internet Infrastructure in the last few days, aided by some inside knowledge.

There's an attack noone ever expected! Terrorists trade in their weapons and become Accountants! No more AK-47, instead it's Form A-74K!

For attackers who's aim is the stone age, (3, Insightful)

crovira (10242) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777536)

and the destruction of the morally bankrupt, corrupt western civilization, we sure are giving Al Qeda and the Q'Ran-and-ravers kudos for a lot more hightech savvy than they need to infect themselves with to accomplish their goals.

Have you read about how Islam is treating anybody with enough education to frame a question to ask the immams? After they've shot them?

Have you read the clap-trap that their schools, in those countries where they still pretend to have some, are spewing in an effort to reconcile the Western scientific viewpoint, based on letting things describe themselves so that we can understand them, and Islam's mystical religious authoritarian fervor, which is based on Allah this, Allah that and nothing happens without the will of Allah and the Q'Ran is the only book you need and the immams will guide you in its interpretation so you don't need to know how to read. (Very Catholic of them. Watch your sons around that bunch of androsterone loving creeps.)

Given the patterns shown to date and the historic emnity betwen the Q'Ran-and-ravers and our transportation infrastructure, (you don't need to leave your village and the influence of your immam,) we'd probably do better to watch who the country's transportation workers are.

What do they do to spread terror and interfers with our lives? Mall bombers are a very ineffective way to spread terror. They have noticed that our conveyances offer the opportunity to murder and do a lot of harm to many people in a tight space. Now they set bombs off next to busses, hijack planes, crash them into buildings.

River bridges and tunnels are far more vulnerable than airports right now. Truckers and their rigs are the vulnerable underbelly of America.

Another dimension (2, Insightful)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777542)

Most of the critical infrastructure stuff is air-gapped from the Net (that is, they are completely separate from it, and not connected, not even indirectly), and rightfully so. So any job would have to be an inside job by a sleeper agent or something.

But it might be easier for terrorists to take out something (physically) like the root DNS servers, or a major point like MAE East/West -- it may not cause the apocalypse, but that will still screw things up majorly for the world... the Internet does have lots of single points of failure, believe it or not.

Not an Al Quaeda tactic (4, Insightful)

Dilbert_ (17488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777543)

I don't believe Osama's buddies would attempt something like this. Somebody else, maybe, but not Al Quaeda. They're much more interested in the 'honor' and the 'glory' of making big, bloody direct attacks. Look at their history of attacks: WTC, Khobar Towers, USS Cole, WTC again, Kenya embassy,... All aimed at directly attacking symbols of US hegemony, with big booms and many dead. Computers is just not like them.

Anthrax, maybe.

Hacking at a liberal pace (1)

oingoboingo (179159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777546)

case in Australia where a consultant used his inside knowledge of a local sewage treatment system to dump raw sewage, hoping for a contract to solve the problem he created.

I believe the name of the contractor in this case was John W Howard. The name of the company was the Federal Commonwealth of Australia. The incident was the 2001 Federal Election. And no, the sewage still hasn't been cleaned up...we're still waiting

How would that be possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777550)

I thought that the Internet was banned in Afghanistan... ;-)

Common Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777553)

The devices are called distributed control systems, or DCS, and supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, systems. The simplest ones collect measurements, throw railway switches, close circuit-breakers or adjust valves in the pipes that carry water, oil and gas. More complicated versions sift incoming data, govern multiple devices and cover a broader area.

What is new and dangerous is that most of these devices are now being connected to the Internet


If this is the case, I suspect we have more to fear from the stupid people who designed such systems than the terrorists themselves. Throw railway switches from the internet? Give me a break! Authors of the article and their "experts", getting a little carried away, maybe?

Old News (1)

kpetruse (572247) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777554)

There have been cyber attacks going on for years. How else can you explain AOL?

I smell a Perl joke in there somewhere... (1)

krypt0s (72886) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777561)

Or maybe it was a camel joke. I dunno, it's too damn early.

Wall St is a DoS (2)

Cally (10873) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777573)

When stuff like the Worldcom farce can lead to the excellent and strategically vital UUNET backbone potentially going dark, what on *earth* do they think Al Quaida can do?! This sounds like "electronic Pearl Harbour" b/s - if you don't know, that phrase is a common code-phrase meaning "give us more money and power!" often heard in Washington over the last decade or so.

What do they think a terrorist organisation could do, that groups of script kiddies with a few botnets couldn't do? Have they really got any idea what sort of DDoS stuff happens every day of the week out there in IP land?

Have you learned nothing? (4, Insightful)

WasterDave (20047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777586)

I'm having a hard time believing that Al Qaeda is capable of anything along these lines.

So they have towels on their heads, hide in caves and currently live somewhere between Afghanistan and Pakistan - so this makes them stupid, right?

Whatever. Have you forgotten that these people managed to simultaneously hijack FOUR aircraft, in a country with absurdly tight border restrictions, keep the whole thing quiet from an increasingly Orwellian state, run the whole gig on a budget of eighty dollars and five camels AND get away with it? Hmm? Do I see Osama Bin Laden's head mounted on a plaque in the oval office? Quite.

Thing 2 - Sysadmin's are notoriously lazy, particularly Microsoft ones. Count the number of no brainer hacks we've had over the last, say, two years: Default passwords on SQL servers, unpatched IIS installations by their thousands... Not to mention the notoriously bad security record of the vendor itself.

Not that you need to actually attack anything, don't forget that the multi billion dollar Yahoo! empire was reduced to rubble by some kid in fuckwad Arizona calling himself "Mafiaboy". And he bragged about it on IRC, hardly the gold standard in attempting to get away with things.

Fucks' sake, A "cyber attack" is so thoroughly within the reach of Al Queda that the only reason I can suggest that they've not done it is that they've been busy regrouping after their previous hosts, the Taliban, had their arses royally kicked a few months back.

You think they're going to run forever? Grow up America. You're not as smart as you think you are, and you're very much a target. Have a nice day.

Dave

To the Forbes readers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777602)

The mainstream press is a poor source for technology information. They have two modes, wondrement and fearmongering. They alternate between the two and rarely ever get even close to the truth.

Here's a hint: Sources that favor the prefix "cyber", tend to not know what they are talking about. People who do know, tend to shudder every time their eyes are molested by the foul word.

So, to wrap up: cyber = clueless.

Forbes Readers, I hope you enjoyed this informational piece.

In summary (4, Insightful)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777605)

Al Qaeda has hired script kiddies to bring down rain down computer destruction. I don't understand why the fuck things not designed to be hooked up to the internet are being hooked up to it.

I ask in all seriousness, why is a railway switch hooked up to the public internet? What good reason is there for eletronic valve controls for fresh or sewage water to be hooked up to the internet? Does a passing shit or dead goldfish need to check its e-mail? I can understand having some sort of network linking a bunch of sensors and whatnot, that makes sense. I do not understand however why that network needs to be on the internet or even publicly accessible. In some cases, like the guy in Australia, the method of intrusion was not the internet or a network of any sorts, just an unsecured method of entry. Having singular systems with unsecured entry point is understandable and pretty forgivable. Not everyone expects some jackass to try to scre with something. A network of systems with unsecured entry is ridiculous.

I remember reading a billion and a half philez back in the day on how to fuck with systems through Tymnet and other networks similar to it. I still don't see why the SCADA system controlling the Hoover damn needs a modem in it, if it does need that modem in it what is up with the lack of intense and thurough handshaking and password challenges?

The internet is an obvious target regardless for you bozos who question militant religious fanatics and their target aquisition. Why attack the WTC? It was a symbol, same with the White House or Pentagon. They're both symbols. The internet is another symbol of Western culture. Who is the internet big with? A hint: it is not a bunch of predominatly Muslim countries but the word does start with W and end with est. It would be yet another symbol to attack if you're in the mindset that the West is the source of all of your ills.

If you're worried about phone lines going down and needing network access get some geeky friend together, get yourselves Ham licenses and form yourself an emergency packet radio network. If you've got laptops and battery powered equipment you'll be fine even if your power goes from al Qaeda script kiddie attack. While it sounds sort of ufnny to some it is a good idea, hams in an area suffering from power outages or down phone systems can be a big help keeping the flow of information flowing. Nothing helps in an emergency situation like the right information getting to the right people at the right time.

Cyberattacks? (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777606)

What an utter BS. Is this what, another Y2k?
Ask Slashdot: How do you make money out of it?

Re:Cyberattacks? (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777637)

Y2K was a heady time. Money flowed to engineers like sewage to the open sea.

If we can bring back the panic atmosphere, we can relive those days!

Panic! All our computer systems need to be protected against terrorists! Hire me to fix your systems!

Madlib Attacks (1)

ReccaH (577373) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777617)

I have personally felt like Washington has been warning the nation of [FILLINTHEBLANK] Attacks ever since 9/11. So far about the only thing I haven't seen is:

"Washington warned today of possible terrorist attacks against small puppies and possibly one of the two black gerbils at the new Debbie's Petland that opened in the Cape Cod Mall last week."

Haven't they heard of sensory overload?

Dubious Rebel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777628)

I'm having a hard time believing that Al Qaeda is capable of anything along these lines

Actually, programmers from the Indian sub-continent and China are some of the most adept in the world. It's not unlikely that Al Quaeda has access to some programmers/hackers that have been trained in the vicinity. To think that they are backward third-world guys with guns is naive and stupid, and thinking this way is playing their advantage.

Utter shite (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3777630)

The subject of this article is such rabid FUD that it needs dispelling, quickly. The technically savvy readers of Slashdot, if not already aware of the state of power-plant security, need to catch up to what reality is, because they will be the ones that the non-technicals will look to for answers and reassurance.

The idea that critical systems of a power-plant of any kind would be on-line and accessible via the web or dial-up is so preposterous as to defy reason. The idea is surely suggested by ignorant kooks, and snatched up and carried into daylight by "journalists" who would rather see their name in a byline than verify the information in the stories they rush to press. In short, someone has seen one to many USA Channel Sunday Night Movies.

Having worked on nuclear plant monitoring systems software, I can tell you for a fact that the critical systems not only can not be tripped from off-site, but also can not be accessed from anything but specific, highly secure and redundant systems.

These systems have physical switches that often require two hands to operate. They are designed to prevent insider sabotage, so no wanker with a laptop, sitting in a cave or boardroom half a world a way can do anything. The only action that can be caused by any local anomaly is a controlled, safe shut-down. The only thing that a remote action will result in is a line-item in the logs, period. A plant shutdown may be costly and greatly inconvenient, but hardly lethal, and absolutely not catastrophic. The "terrorists" will have better luck flying a 747 into the Hoover Dam.

The notion that someone with access from outside could trip a plant or cause anything but the generation of a non-critical statistics report to be generated is lunacy. Yes, some aspects of some systems may be monitored from outside, but this is only for informational purposes only.

Of Course.... (1)

stygar (539704) | more than 12 years ago | (#3777643)

...scaremongering that equates "hacker" with "terrorist" helps to justify draconian laws regarding "cyberterrorism". It's a lot easier to justify a law using the worst case scenario (saying you want to be able to throw an al-Qaida member in jail for 20 years when he tries to hack into the LA power grid), even when you really want it mostly so that you can throw the book at minor cybervandals and script kiddies.
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