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NYT Reports Porn Spam Hijacking Network

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the fit-to-print dept.

Security 497

twitter writes "This NYT story describes how thousands of PCs have been used as porn spambots and reverse proxy servers, and mentions that they could be used for kiddie porn. Finally, though Microsoft is not mentioned, people might start to understand what a monoculture of poor quality software enables."

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497 comments

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Heh (1)

pheared (446683) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414661)

Finally, though Microsoft is not mentioned, people might start to understand what a monoculture of poor quality software enables.

Laugh.

Re:Heh (1)

Osrin (599427) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414726)

sometimes they just struggle to contain the hatred.

Re:Heh (4, Informative)

ryanoo (310484) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414727)

people might start to understand what a monoculture of poor quality software enables.

Whatever. That won't happen anytime soon.

Just as an example, we brought a remote user's laptop into the shop the other day to update it and found over 250 infected files. Even though we provide the option everytime he logs in to update the virus identites, they hadn't been updated in over a year.

To many people, a computer is like a screwdriver. They could care less about it, they just want to pick it up, make it work, and toss it aside when they are done with it. It's unfortunate, yes, but that's just the way it is.

Re:Heh (5, Insightful)

guido1 (108876) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414808)

To many people, a computer is like a screwdriver. They could care less about it, they just want to pick it up, make it work, and toss it aside when they are done with it. It's unfortunate, yes, but that's just the way it is.

Why is this unfortunate? Do you want to know every nuance of the car you drive, just to get to work? How about when you watch TV? Do you really need to know about NTSC vs PAL? No, you want to watch TV.

Computers should be no different. People just want to send grandma some pictures, surf the web, type a paper, whatever... Not spend forever updating their AV package, SP updates, etc.

A computer is a tool. It is merely a means to an end.

Re:Heh (1)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414869)

<soapbox class="rant">Then why do they go to the trouble of uninstalling Norton's/MacAffe and installing Gator/bonzi buddy and the nigerian porn dialer...I swear, some users are intent on making our lives hell.</soapbox>

Re:Heh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414809)

Say what you will about michael, but he's pretty clever about this. Previously he would always just stick that in as his own little editorial comment. But he's been dragged over the coals so many times for doing that, so now he just finds a user submission that has the editorial comment already in it. That way we can't really blame michael, can we?

Was twitter's submission the first on this story? Was it the best written? No. No. Does it fit best with the ranting michael would like to do? Yes. So that's the one that gets picked.

Re:Heh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414889)

the best 404 I've ever seen:

The New York Times story cannot be displayed
The story you are looking for is currently unavailable. The paper might be experiencing technical difficulties, or more likely the story has been withdrawn due to inaccuracies.

Please try the following:

Click the #Invent story button, or try again later.

If you are Jayson Blair and typed the the name of the story in the address bar, make sure it was your story.

To check your newspaper story, click the FACTS menu, and then click Check Sources. On the Plagiarism tab, click No. These settings should match those provided by your Editor.
Even if the editor has not enabled it, the blogosphere can examine the story and automatically discover inaccurate and misleading aspects.
If you would like to use the Blogosphere to try and discover them, click #Andrew Sullivan
Some papers require 170 thousand antiquities to be sacked from museums. Click the #Fisk menu and then click Anti-American bias to determine what level of museum looting your paper will broadcast.
If you are trying to reach a story worth reading, try going back in time when journalistic standards were not sacrificed on the off-chance of a story with a negative Anti-American spin.
Click the #exit button button if you are Howell Raines.

Cannot find story or Plagiarism Error
Instapundit.com Explorer

Flamebait (1, Insightful)

TheSpunkyEnigma (10120) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414662)

When do we got to mod the articles themselves as flamebait. Much more of this crap and slashdot is going to News for Weenies, Stuff that Bores.

-Matt

Re:Flamebait (1)

Ratphace (667701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414703)


Flamebait? These guys don't write the articles, they just relay on the links and such so people that like to read about all sorts of things can have a nice central place to find all these types of articles.

You know the old adage, if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. How about submitting whatever you think is worth reading as an article or stop whining about what is reported.

If you don't like an article, don't read it and surely don't waste your time putting in a worthless comment like you just did.

Re:Flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414781)

We can't be part of the solution as long as we can't moderate articles like we can comments.

It's just a shame that the editors find such empty and inflammatory comments insightful and conducive of thoughtful discussion.

Re:Flamebait (1, Troll)

Tyrion Xavier (688681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414865)

These guys? Are you referring to the editors? If you are, the editors are known for adding short blurbs to the end of an article write-up which is usually just trolling. The editors honestly believe they are better than most everyone who posts on Slashdot - look at how they treat people who challenge the way things are done. People are modded off-topic and their past comments are also bitchslapped into oblivion. The editors carry vendettas and hate to see anyone voice an opinion that is contrary to what they think.

And as far as submitting stories goes - I think you missed the point. Anyone could have submitted this story without the flamebait tacked on the end but the editors are going to choose the one to post that has that flamebait. There is no way to be part of the solution by submitting stories because ultimately, the editors are just going to ignore the voices of anyone who actually uses some decent journalism techniques.

Calling people's comments worthless? That's nice.

Re:Flamebait (2, Insightful)

Zardoz44 (687730) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414745)

The parent is hardly offtopic. Flamebait was thrown into the article intro, and he's aptly responding.

Why not blame the rain on Microsoft, even though the weather report didn't mention them? They probably use MS to generate their forcasts.

Re:Flamebait (1)

Ratphace (667701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414852)


Well, then submit a comment via e-mail to NYT because THEY wrote the article not the person supplying the article.

I mean, come on, I think it's good to see all information and stories that are written have to say about anything computer related.

Whether or not you agree with the article is entirely up to you, but should have NO reflection on the person submitting the article.

Want to get your submission accepted by michael? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414855)

Take a little shot at MS in there somewhere so he doesn't have to. Christ... what a disgrace this site is becoming...

Quit, taco, and replace yourself with someone who cares about the readers and quality. PLEASE!

Re:Flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414864)

See the above reply to "Heh."

This story was linked to from Drudge before /.. You know a thousand people submitted it to /. before twitter, and a lot of them were probably better written and without the ridiculous commentary. michael just can't resist, though, and when it's in a user submitted comment, he thinks we can't blame him.

I'm confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414664)

Is this a pornjacking or a spamjacking?

Re:I'm confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414713)

no, just jacking. off.

disturbing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414676)

disturbing.

Cause no other OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414677)

IT must be microsoft's fault no other OS has ever had a problem and I am not responsible for what I do on a computer...

Re:Cause no other OS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414733)

IT must be microsoft's fault no other OS has ever had a problem and I am not responsible for what I do on a computer...


You hit the nail on the head. I stopped using Windows because I felt like I was not responsible for what I did on my computer. I feel like Windows is constantly changing things, and automagically configuring things for me, without asking. I dont want to install things and have them break other things. That means you're doing something I dont want you to do. I hate that. I hate that it has no security, and all the bitching about anti-microsoft editorials is so ridiculous. Accept the fact that your OS has issues, complain to the company, and then maybe Microsoft will fix things.

Re:Cause no other OS (1)

Deusy (455433) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414749)

I mean, yeah, look at all those other operating systems that are shipped with so many insecurities out of the box.

The number of vulnerabilities that come with a preinstalled Microsoftized machine is horrendous.

At least us [Linux|*BSD|Mac] users aren't forced to install hacker gateways such as IE and Outlook (Express inc.).

Whew! (4, Funny)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414679)

Now I've got a great new excuse when the wife stumbles onto things...

Re:Whew! (1)

tarius8105 (683929) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414732)

Yeah, but what will she say after you are forced to install that is suppose to prevent that.

"Uhh Honey, I swear, its a new hijacking software...I must study the site to see who created this software..."

Re:Whew! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414774)

Does she stumble upon kiddie-porn very often on your PC?

j/k ;)

Re:Whew! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414834)

You swine. You vulgar little maggot. Don't you know that you are pathetic? You worthless bag of filth. As we say in Texas, I'll bet you couldn't pour piss out of a boot with instructions on the heel. You are a canker. A sore that won't go away. I would rather kiss a lawyer than be seen with you.

You are a fiend and a coward, and you have bad breath. You are degenerate, noxious and depraved. I feel debased just for knowing you exist. I despise everything about you. You are a bloody nardless newbie twit protohominid chromosomally aberrant caricature of a coprophagic cloacal parasitic pond scum and I wish you would go away.

You're a putrescence mass, a walking vomit. You are a spineless little worm deserving nothing but the profoundest contempt. You are a jerk, a cad, a weasel. Your life is a monument to stupidity. You are a stench, a revulsion, a big suck on a sour lemon.

You are a bleating fool, a curdled staggering mutant dwarf smeared richly with the effluvia and offal accompanying your alleged birth into this world. An insensate, blinking calf, meaningful to nobody, abandoned by the puke-drooling, giggling beasts who sired you and then killed themselves in recognition of what they had done.

I will never get over the embarrassment of belonging to the same species as you. You are a monster, an ogre, a malformity. I barf at the very thought of you. You have all the appeal of a paper cut. Lepers avoid you. You are vile, worthless, less than nothing. You are a weed, a fungus, the dregs of this earth. And did I mention you smell?

If you aren't an idiot, you made a world-class effort at simulating one. Try to edit your writing of unnecessary material before attempting to impress us with your insight. The evidence that you are a nincompoop will still be available to readers, but they will be able to access it more rapidly.

You snail-skulled little rabbit. Would that a hawk pick you up, drive its beak into your brain, and upon finding it rancid set you loose to fly briefly before spattering the ocean rocks with the frothy pink shame of your ignoble blood. May you choke on the queasy, convulsing nausea of your own trite, foolish beliefs.

You are weary, stale, flat and unprofitable. You are grimy, squalid, nasty and profane. You are foul and disgusting. You're a fool, an ignoramus. Monkeys look down on you. Even sheep won't have sex with you. You are unreservedly pathetic, starved for attention, and lost in a land that reality forgot.

And what meaning do you expect your delusionally self-important statements of unknowing, inexperienced opinion to have with us? What fantasy do you hold that you would believe that your tiny-fisted tantrums would have more weight than that of a leprous desert rat, spinning rabidly in a circle, waiting for the bite of the snake?

You are a waste of flesh. You have no rhythm. You are ridiculous and obnoxious. You are the moral equivalent of a leech. You are a living emptiness, a meaningless void. You are sour and senile. You are a disease, you puerile one-handed slack-jawed drooling meatslapper.

On a good day you're a half-wit. You remind me of drool. You are deficient in all that lends character. You have the personality of wallpaper. You are dank and filthy. You are asinine and benighted. You are the source of all unpleasantness. You spread misery and sorrow wherever you go.

I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. Your writing has to be a troll. Nothing in our universe can really be this stupid. Perhaps this is some primordial fragment from the original big bang of stupid. Some pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by anything else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we know. I'm sorry. I can't go on. This is an epiphany of stupid for me. After this, you may not hear from me again for a while. I don't have enough strength left to deride your ignorant questions and half baked comments about unimportant trivia, or any of the rest of this drivel. Duh.

The only thing worse than your logic is your manners. I have snipped away most of what you wrote, because, well... it didn't really say anything. Your attempt at constructing a creative flame was pitiful. I mean, really, stringing together a bunch of insults among a load of babbling was hardly effective... Maybe later in life, after you have learned to read, write, spell, and count, you will have more success. True, these are rudimentary skills that many of us "normal" people take for granted that everyone has an easy time of mastering. But we sometimes forget that there are "challenged" persons in this world who find these things more difficult. If I had known, that this was your case then I would have never read your post. It just wouldn't have been "right". Sort of like parking in a handicap space. I wish you the best of luck in the emotional, and social struggles that seem to be placing such a demand on you.

P.S.: You are hypocritical, greedy, violent, malevolent, vengeful, cowardly, deadly, mendacious, meretricious, loathsome, despicable, belligerent, opportunistic, barratrous, contemptible, criminal, fascistic, bigoted, racist, sexist, avaricious, tasteless, idiotic, brain-damaged, imbecilic, insane, arrogant, deceitful, demented, lame, self-righteous, byzantine, conspiratorial, satanic, fraudulent, libelous, bilious, splenetic, spastic, ignorant, clueless, illegitimate, harmful, destructive, dumb, evasive, double-talking, devious, revisionist, narrow, manipulative, paternalistic, fundamentalist, dogmatic, idolatrous, unethical, cultic, diseased, suppressive, controlling, restrictive, malignant, deceptive, dim, crazy, weird, dystopic, stifling, uncaring, plantigrade, grim, unsympathetic, jargon-spouting, censorious, secretive, aggressive, mind-numbing, arassive, poisonous, flagrant, self-destructive, abusive, socially-retarded, puerile, clueless, and generally Not Good.

WQWWQQWWWQQ@WWWWQQQ@WWWWWQQQQ@WWWWWWQQQQQ@WWWWWWW@ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414680)

  • WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
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Re:WQWWQQWWWQQ@WWWWQQQ@WWWWWQQQQ@WWWWWWQQQQQ@WWWWW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414753)

An admirable attempt to bring page widening and lengthening back to Slashdot, but it's a far cry from the past accomplishments of the legendary Klerck [slashdot.org] .

NYT registration site stories should be filtered. (1, Insightful)

ditangquan (526554) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414683)

NYT registration site stories should be filtered.

Re:NYT registration site stories should be filtere (1)

paradesign (561561) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414752)

they are. when you read NYT or a variant thereof DONT CLICK. i know its a difficult concept, but trust me, it works. not only do you not have to register, they dont even log your IP.

but then again, if you bitch about registration that much i bet you steal your neighbors paper too... so they wont know where you live.

Re:NYT registration site stories should be filtere (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414762)

Use your built-in filter - your brain. If you see "NYT" then skip the story. Not everyone is averse to filling out a free registration form (using real or imagined data) in exchange for content.

Re:NYT registration site stories should be ... (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414801)

Or just wait 2 minutes, and let the slashdot [slashdot.org] community [slashdot.org] help you out.

--

Says the Registered Slashdot user (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414853)

You could always ignore them.
Or register, which you're obviously not entirely opposed to.

Possible Legal Implications Abound (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414684)

There might soon be laws that require a minimum amount of security to insure the general well being of other people connected on the internet. Sort of like minimum safety requirements on cars. I wonder if Microsoft will pass the test?

Unfair expectation (3, Interesting)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414828)

"I wonder if Microsoft will pass the test?"

Hardly a fair question, and I'll use your car safety requirement example to demonstrate.

Back before there were seatbelt laws, many cars simply did not have them. So once those laws were put into place, would it be fair to expect older cars to pass the seatbelt test?

Now if this minimum security law you suggest were to become a reality, it would be Microsoft's responsibility to make sure that future operating systems pass the security test. But you cannot hold them to a standard that does not currently exist.

Only if users aren't allowed to touch anything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414839)

That means no installing any software downloaded from the internet. I suppose you could checksum the download to ensure accuracy, but I would think that it'd be more along the lines of Altering this PC/installation in any way voids your warranty or somesuch nonsense.

Monoculture it is, but... (4, Interesting)

Bendy Chief (633679) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414685)

Isn't there also a responsibility that computer users need to take, given their connectivity these days? If we need certification to operate potentially dangerous complex machinery, why not some minor courses on basic security so you don't have Cleatus and Grandma saturating the world in spam?

I guess that's pretty authoritarian, and there are better ways to beat spam. Still... the elimination of the luser is a shining grail for us all, no? ;)

Re:Monoculture it is, but... (2, Interesting)

pheared (446683) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414766)

I don't think that requiring certifications in network security for everyone who wants to use the internet will ever fly with the companies that run the lines. Mainly because it won't fly with the users.

However, putting users in tightly controlled segments of the internet (filtering inbound/outbound of most unnecessary garbage and attack vectors) by default would cut down on this problem greatly. The first to complain will be those with esoteric needs and "power users." Require them to read/pass some basic education before allowing them a hall pass into the internet. Since they must abide by the AUP, I don't see a problem with testing them to see if they know it, and how to prevent themselves from being in violation. This entire process could be mostly automated.

Re:Monoculture it is, but... (2, Insightful)

tsetem (59788) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414776)

  • why not some minor courses on basic security so you don't have Cleatus and Grandma saturating the world in spam?

But they passed the driver's exam so it's safe for them to drive a car? Just because they have a basic class in it, doesn't make them safer.

What, you mean you've never seen Grandma swerving across the road?

Re:Monoculture it is, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414863)

But they passed the driver's exam so it's safe for them to drive a car?
Not necessarily. It's more likely, though.
Just because they have a basic class in it, doesn't make them safer.
Yes it does.

Actually, the major danger isn't Grandma doing her best to do what she was told, but the boy racer types who think they know better than what they were told in class and drive far over the speed limit because they feel it "appropriate for the conditions and driver ability". This usually in the pouring rain after a few beers.

Re:Monoculture it is, but... (1)

YetAnotherName (168064) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414802)

I've had my fill of lusers, certainly. But Cleatus and Grandma won't have the mental capacity to appreciate network security or even take basic precautions. (As evidenced by the number of emails I get from my own grandma that read "This is a really clever animation; it's not a virus, I ran it and my computer's still fine.) More likely Internet Service Providers will strongly restrict all IP traffic and make just about the only destination port you can reach be 80, and forget any incoming traffic. Those of us who actually know what we're doing and who actually could use some incoming connections will have to upgrade to a super-premium account (costing $$$) or buy our own Internet access connections (costing $$$).

Re:Monoculture it is, but... (5, Insightful)

JulianD (15290) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414835)

I agree with you: if 90% of the world were running UNIX instead of Windows, we'd still have heaps of insecure, obsolete old RedHat 6.2 boxen sitting around on the Net because users just do not take security seriously and it doesn't matter what the underlying OS is.

I've pointed out before that the rise in popularity of Linux will not make the Internet more secure; it will merely result in poorly-configured Windows boxes being replaced with equally poorly-configured Linux boxes.

Excuse me? (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414686)

Finally, though Microsoft is not mentioned, people might start to understand what a monoculture of poor quality software enables."

Umm, no they won't. First of all, very few people would notice the article in the first place. Second, people who did notice wouldn't know what to do to protect themselves (not supporting MS isn't an option for 90% of the computer users in the world). Third, was the comment necessary?

Re:Excuse me? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414736)

Dear:

[ ] Clueless Newbie [ ] Lamer [ ] Flamer
[ ] Loser [ ] Spammer [ ] Troller
[ ] "Me too" er [ ] Pervert [ ] Geek
[ ] Freak [ ] Nerd [ ] Elvis
[ ] Racist [ ] Fed [ ] Freak
[ ] Fundamentalist [ ] Satanist [ ] Homeopath
[ ] Unbearably self-righteous person

I took exception to your recent:

[ ] Email [ ] Post to ____________________.
(newsgroup)

It was (check all that apply):

[ ] Lame [ ] Stupid [ ] Abusive
[ ] Clueless [ ] Idiotic [ ] Brain-damaged
[ ] Imbecilic [ ] Arrogant [ ] Malevolent
[ ] Contemptible [ ] Libelous [ ] Ignorant
[ ] Clueless [ ] Stupid [ ] Fundamentalist
[ ] Boring [ ] Dim [ ] Cowardly
[ ] Deceitful [ ] Demented [ ] Self-righteous
[ ] Crazy [ ] Weird [ ] Hypocritical
[ ] Loathsome [ ] Satanic [ ] Despicable
[ ] Belligerent [ ] Mind-numbing [ ] Maladroit
[ ] Much longer than any worthwhile thought of which you may be capable.

Your attention is drawn to the fact that:

[ ] You posted what should have been emailed
[ ] You obviously don't know how to read your newsgroups line
[ ] You are trying to make money on a non-commercial newsgroup
[ ] You self-righteously impose your religious beliefs on others
[ ] You self-righteously impose your racial beliefs on others
[ ] You posted a binary in a non-binaries group
[ ] You don't know which group to post in
[ ] You posted something totally uninteresting
[ ] You crossposted to *way* too many newsgroups
[ ] I don't like your tone of voice
[ ] What you posted has been done before.
[ ] Not only that, it was also done better the last time.
[ ] You quoted an *entire* post in your reply
[ ] You started a long, stupid thread
[ ] You continued spreading a long stupid thread
[ ] Your post is absurdly off topic for where you posted it
[ ] You posted a followup to crossposted robot-generated spam
[ ] You posted a "test" in a discussion group rather than in alt.test
[ ] You posted a "YOU ALL SUCK" message
[ ] You posted low-IQ flamebait
[ ] You posted a blatantly obvious troll
[ ] You followed up to a blatantly obvious troll
[ ] You said "me too" to something
[ ] You make no sense
[ ] Your sig/alias is dreadful
[ ] You must have spent your life in a skinner box to be this clueless.
[ ] You posted a phone-sex ad
[ ] You posted a stupid pyramid money making scheme
[ ] You claimed a pyramid-scheme/chain letter for money was legal
[ ] Your margin settings (or lack of) make your post unreadable. Each line
just goes on and on, not stopping at 75 characters, making it hard to read.
[ ] You posted in ELitE CaPitALs to look k0OwL
[ ] You posted a message in ALL CAPS, and you don't even own a TRS-80
[ ] Your post was FULL of RANDOM CAPS for NO APPARENT REASON
[ ] You have greatly misunderstood the purpose of this newsgroup.
[ ] You have greatly misunderstood the purpose of the Internet.
[ ] You are a loser.
[ ] This has been pointed out to you before.
[ ] You didn't do anything specific, but appear to be so generally
worthless that you are being flamed on general principles.

It is recommended that you:

[ ] Get a clue
[ ] Get a life
[ ] Go away
[ ] Grow up
[ ] Never post again
[ ] Read every newsgroup you posted to for a week
[ ] stop reading Usenet news and get a life
[ ] stop sending Email and get a life
[ ] Bust up your modem with a hammer and eat it
[ ] Have your medication adjusted
[ ] Jump into a bathtub while holding your monitor
[ ] find a volcano and throw yourself in
[ ] get a gun and shoot yourself
[ ] Actually post something relevant
[ ] Read the FAQ
[ ] stick to FidoNet and come back when you've grown up
[ ] Apologize to everybody in this newsgroup
[ ] consume excrement
[ ] consume excrement and thus expire
[ ] Post your tests to alt.test/misc.test
[ ] Put your home phone number in your ads from now on
[ ] Refrain from posting until you have a vague idea what you're doing

In Closing, I'd Like to Say:

[ ] You need to seek psychiatric help
[ ] Take your gibberish somewhere else
[ ] *plonk*
[ ] Learn how to post or get off the usenet
[ ] Most of the above
[ ] All of the above
[ ] Some of the above, not including All of the above
[X] You are so clueless that I didn't even bother filling in this form.

Re:Excuse me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414782)

this deserves +5 troll

Re:Excuse me? (0, Troll)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414765)

Third, was the comment necessary?

You must be new to slashdot. Of course the mandatory MS slam is necessary in every post, regardless of the topic. I mean they are the cause of _every_ problem known to man.

Besides, what else is going to drive geeks to click those ad banners? We need anti-MS hype, not facts!

Re:Excuse me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414794)

yeah, riiiight. Idiot. Don't troll.

Indeed (4, Insightful)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414814)

There are three types of people:

(1) Those that recognize Microsoft's influence and approve of it.
(2) Those that recognize Microsoft's influence and disapprove of it.
(3) Those that are oblivious to Microsoft's influence and wouldn't care even if someone told them.

Groups 1 and 2 are not going to have very many people switching from one to the other. Group 3 is going to have even fewer people leaving it. So the whole "people might start to understand" bit is, quite simply, B.S. It reflects the submitter's membership in Group 2 more than anything else.

Re:Excuse me? I think he implies Linux... (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414877)

Apparently, /. rules out the possibility ow world MS domination. Give the HERD mentality in the IT industry, the entire momentum could now switch to Linux.

In which case, the author feels a world of insecure Linux systems could be a kiddie-porn-peddlers dream. But then, that should be a nice problem for the Linux folks :-)

Peace

Convenient Excuse (1)

Jack Comics (631233) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414692)

This could make for an excellent convenient excuse... "I'm serius honey, I have no idea how that Jill Kelly lesbian porn AVI got on our computer. Our computer must be being used as one of those porn bots we heard about on the news last night. Damn those hackers!"

Re:Convenient Excuse (1, Redundant)

Keyser_Lives (543481) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414722)

I know the parent is a joke, but this type of excuse was recently used in a court case by a guy who claimed that all of the kiddie porn on his machine was put there by some "insidious hacker type" who had broken into his machine and planted it there.
I'm not sure if the verdict on that case has been released yet, I know the trial was mentioned somewhere here on /.

Anybody with a better memory than mine know how this turned out?

Re:Convenient Excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414796)

He got off with it. Apparently there was a trojan on his PC and they could not prove it was him that downloaded the porn. Discussed on /. before.

Re:Convenient Excuse (1)

Mantorp (142371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414740)

"they even hacked it into my playlist, those bastards"

is it me, or is it crazy? (4, Funny)

bongoras (632709) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414693)

"The rogue program does not affect the Apple Macintosh line of computers or computers running variants of the Unix operating system."

so um, not to Microsoft bash or anything, but what OS does this 'sploit attack then?

Re:is it me, or is it crazy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414725)

The one that people actually use, of course, rather than some minority interest one. It'd be pretty useless otherwise.

Re:is it me, or is it crazy? (2, Insightful)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414772)

You'd be an idiot to write something like this for Macs or Unix/Linux computers - there's far less of them.

It'd be like sending your spam e-mails to just 5% of people - not very effective.

And in my defense (1)

djtrialprice (602555) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414694)


Erm, yes your honour, my PC was hacked and reversed proxy-thingy-ed and that's what all those pictures were.

Honest.

Forgot about wife? (1)

Omega's Wildfire (603364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414792)

You may be able to pull the wool over the eyes of some old judge, but when marriage comes into play it is a whole other ball game...

Husband: No honey that porn isn't mine. You see it was hacked and something to do with reversed proxied. I swear.

Wife: Next thing your are going to tell me is that I left the toilet seat up!

Score- Wife 1 / Husband 0

FUD (4, Insightful)

Ageless (10680) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414697)

That's gotta be one of the most FUDaliscious articles I have ever wasted my time on.
"Some random guy says grillions of computers are infected with an undetectable virus and is going to distribute kiddie porn!!"

Please.

P.S. I'm not saying it's not possible, but for fuck's sake, get a few details before bothering to blather on about it for pages at a time.

Re:FUD (4, Funny)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414848)

Some random guy says grillions of computers are infected with an undetectable virus and is going to distribute kiddie porn!!"

Is that some sort of new grilled onion sandwich at Burger King? ;)

Re:FUD (1)

wolf- (54587) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414860)

Its the NYT!
Who needs proof when the old grey lady can just waggle her tongue and someone posts it to slashdot?

It seems that the percentage of slashdot articles referencing the NYT is definately increasing.

Hi! (-1, Troll)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414701)

Spambot my friend, here is my present for you :

darl.macbride@sco.com
smacnealy@sun.com
billg@ microsoft.com

Cheers,

Re:Hi! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414816)

hey!
it's funny!! you should have read the previous article on /. to understand...

Another link (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414702)

Try this link [nytimes.com]

Total flamebait! (3, Insightful)

Pyrosz (469177) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414705)

Finally, though Microsoft is not mentioned, people might start to understand what a monoculture of poor quality software enables."

Why do the Slash Editors(ha!) put this drivel up? We can bash Microsoft enough in the comments without the extra crap in the article itself.

Look who posted it. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414831)

michael is famous for his mind-blowingly inane anti-MS comments, both his own and allowing the same for submitters. You'll catch his eye much easier if you submit something blasting MS, even if it's offtopic to the submission itself.

Duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414885)

Click on the "Also by michael" link sometime. And then look around for the censorware story. It's enough to make you ill. Why is he still employed by OSDN?

article text from NYT from a FREE newspaper site. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414711)

here [chron.com]

Re:article text from NYT from a FREE newspaper sit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414758)

I'm confused - how is NYTimes not a free newspaper site? Because they ask for a fake name before reading the articles?

Piss off.

Re:article text from NYT from a FREE newspaper sit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414824)

it takes time to fill it out and time is money you know!

distributed webserver (1)

paradesign (561561) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414714)

if it was legal, i bet it could be quite useful. it would make /.ing alot harder of a job.

Re:distributed webserver (1, Informative)

dapuk (603973) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414888)

This isn't a distributed webserver. It simply acts as a proxy server with a hardcoded destination host/port.

Just say Microsoft. (1, Insightful)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414716)

The rogue program does not affect the Apple Macintosh line of computers or computers running variants of the Unix operating system.

What is it with the mass media not wanting to say that a given worm or trojan affects only systems running Microsoft Windows?

Erm... (4, Insightful)

tjensor (571163) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414721)

"...though Microsoft is not mentioned, people might start to understand what a monoculture of poor quality software enables."

Shouldnt that read:
"... though Microsoft is not mentioned, we thought we might use this as an excuse to attack them anyway."
I mean I understand MS doesnt exactly have a large fanbase here but that is frankly ridiculous.

Re:Erm... (4, Insightful)

MattRog (527508) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414871)

Indeed. There's nothing in the article to indicate that this is anything but a run-of-the-mill, end user problem (e.g. running a virus). Mr. Smith thinks it may be a particular virus, and that virus may (I don't know enough about it to comment one way or another) exploit a common hole in Windows, but to indicate that this is a symptom of Windows insecurity with insufficent evidence is unethical.

Certainly it may only infect Win32, but that is by design. There have never been rootkits for Linux? Trojaned apps?

reg free partner link (2, Informative)

rkz (667993) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414723)

here you go [yahoo.com]

Obligatory no reg text (1, Informative)

figleaf (672550) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414724)

Hackers Hijack PC's for Sex Sites
By JOHN SCHWARTZ

ore than a thousand unsuspecting Internet users around the world have recently had their computers hijacked by hackers, who computer security experts say are using them for pornographic Web sites.

The hijacked computers, which are chosen by the hackers apparently because they have high-speed connections to the Internet, are secretly loaded with software that makes them send explicit Web pages advertising pornographic sites and offer to sign visitors up as customers.

Advertisement

Unless the owner of the hijacked computer is technologically sophisticated, the activity is likely to go unnoticed. The program, which only briefly downloads the pornographic material to the usurped computer, is invisible to the computer's owner. It apparently does not harm the computer or disturb its operation.

The hackers operating the ring direct traffic to each hijacked computer in their network for a few minutes at a time, quickly rotating through a large number. Some are also used to send spam e-mail messages to boost traffic to the sites.

"Here people are sort of involved in the porno business and don't even know it," said Richard M. Smith, an independent computer researcher who first noticed the problem earlier this month. Mr. Smith said he thought the ring could be traced to Russian senders of spam, or unwanted commercial e-mail.

By hiding behind a ring of machines, the senders can cloak their identity while helping to solve one of the biggest problems for purveyors of pornography and spam: getting shut down by Internet service providers who receive complaints about the raunchy material.

The web of front machines hides the identity of the true server computer so "there's no individual computer to shut down," Mr. Smith said. "We're dealing with somebody here who is very clever."

By monitoring Web traffic to the porn advertisements, Mr. Smith has counted more than a thousand machines that have been affected.

The creators of the ring, whose identities are unknown, are collecting money from the pornographic sites for signing up customers, the security experts say. Many companies play this role in Internet commerce, getting referral fees for driving customers to sites with which they have no other connection.

The ring system could also be used by the hackers to skim off the credit card numbers of the people signing up, said Joe Stewart, senior intrusion analyst with Lurhq, a computer security company based in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The current version of the ring is not completely anonymous, since the hijacked machines download the pornographic ads from a single Web server. According to the computer investigators, that machine apparently is owned by Everyones Internet, a large independent Internet service company in Houston that also offers Web hosting services to a large number of companies. Jeff Lowenberg, the company's vice president of operations, said that he was not aware of any illegal activity on one of his company's computers but said that he would investigate.

Mr. Stewart said the ring was most likely a work in progress, and that flaws, like being tied to a single server, would be eliminated over time.

He said the ring was troubling not just because of what it is being used for now but also because of what it might be used for next.

"This system is especially worrisome because they have an end-to-end anonymous system for spamming and running scams," he said. "It's not a far stretch to say that people who are running kiddie porn sites could say, `Hey, this is something we could use.' "

The computer ring is the latest in an evolution of attacks that allow creators of spam and illicit computer schemes to use other people's computers as accomplices. For several years, senders of spam have relied upon a vestigial element of the Internet mail infrastructure known as "open relay" to use Internet servers as conduits for their spam.

As network administrators have gradually shut down the open relay networks, spam senders have used viruses to plant similar capabilities on home and business computers.

But this appears to be the first viral infection to cause target computers to display whole Web sites, Mr. Smith, the researcher, said.

A Justice Department official said that the computer ring, as described to him, could be a violation of at least two provisions of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The ring has also been used to run a version of a scheme for collecting credit card information from unwary consumers that has been called the "PayPal scam," Mr. Smith said. The hijacked computers send e-mail messages that purport to come from PayPal, an online payment service owned by eBay, asking recipients to fill out a Web site form with account information.

It is unclear precisely how the program, which depends on computers hooked up to high-capacity, high-speed Internet connections, gets into people's computers. Mr. Smith said that he thought that the delivery vehicle was a variant of the "sobig" virus. But Mr. Stewart, the computer security expert at Lurhq, said he had seen no evidence that the "sobig" virus was the culprit, and is looking at other mechanisms for delivery.

Neither Mr. Smith nor Mr. Stewart has found a simple way to tell whether a computer is infected. Technically, the rogue program is a reverse proxy server, which turns a computer into a conduit for content from a server while making it appear to be that server. Mr. Smith said when word of the program gets out, antivirus companies are likely to offer quick updates to their products to find and disable the invasive software.

Computer owners can protect themselves by using firewall software or hardware, which prevent unauthorized entry and use of computers, Mr. Smith said. The rogue program does not affect the Apple Macintosh line of computers or computers running variants of the Unix operating system.

Mr. Stewart, who has written a technical paper to help antivirus companies devise defenses against the porn-hijacking network, has named the program "migmaf," for "migrant Mafia," because he thinks the program originated in the Russian high-tech underworld.

Hackers from the former Soviet Union have been linked to several schemes, including extortion attempts in which they threaten to shut down online casinos through Internet attacks unless the companies pay them off.

Antispam activists have also accused Russian organized crime organizations of taking over home and business PC's to create networks for sending spam. "They always seem to lead back to the Russian mob," Mr. Stewart said.

Re:Obligatory no reg text (4, Insightful)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414795)

NYtimes charges no monetary fee for access to the article. All that they ask is that you read some relatiely non-instusive advertisements and provide them with a fake name. In return, they supply plenty of bandwidth and writing by paid authors which, if not always agreed with, is conceded to be of generally high enough quality so that people actually want to read the articles.

There is no reason to break copyright law and repost this article. This is an example of irresponsible internet behavior at its worst - there is no justification for such action - this is not 'fair use'--it's just lazyness.

What's new about this? (4, Insightful)

irving47 (73147) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414737)

Having worked the abuse@ email address for a DSL provider, I've been seeing this for a couple of years. It's interesting that the mainstream news is finally giving lip service to the problem, though. I heard a commentator on the ABC radio network mention open relays on mail servers the other day during morning rush hour.
Someone (by someone, I mean companies that put out SMTP servers with a large share of the market) should strike while the iron is hot and take it a step further by airing some simple PSA's during a small assortment of shows. Maybe some must see TV "The More You Know" type thing...

Don't bother with registering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414739)

More than a thousand unsuspecting Internet users around the world have recently had their computers hijacked by hackers, who computer security experts say are using them for pornographic Web sites. The hijacked computers, which are chosen by the hackers apparently because they have high-speed connections to the Internet, are secretly loaded with software that makes them send explicit Web pages advertising pornographic sites and offer to sign visitors up as customers. Unless the owner of the hijacked computer is technologically sophisticated, the activity is likely to go unnoticed. The program, which only briefly downloads the pornographic material to the usurped computer, is invisible to the computer's owner. It apparently does not harm the computer or disturb its operation. The hackers operating the ring direct traffic to each hijacked computer in their network for a few minutes at a time, quickly rotating through a large number. Some are also used to send spam e-mail messages to boost traffic to the sites. "Here people are sort of involved in the porno business and don't even know it," said Richard M. Smith, an independent computer researcher who first noticed the problem earlier this month. Mr. Smith said he thought the ring could be traced to Russian senders of spam, or unwanted commercial e-mail. By hiding behind a ring of machines, the senders can cloak their identity while helping to solve one of the biggest problems for purveyors of pornography and spam: getting shut down by Internet service providers who receive complaints about the raunchy material. The web of front machines hides the identity of the true server computer so "there's no individual computer to shut down," Mr. Smith said. "We're dealing with somebody here who is very clever." By monitoring Web traffic to the porn advertisements, Mr. Smith has counted more than a thousand machines that have been affected. The creators of the ring, whose identities are unknown, are collecting money from the pornographic sites for signing up customers, the security experts say. Many companies play this role in Internet commerce, getting referral fees for driving customers to sites with which they have no other connection. The ring system could also be used by the hackers to skim off the credit card numbers of the people signing up, said Joe Stewart, senior intrusion analyst with Lurhq, a computer security company based in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The current version of the ring is not completely anonymous, since the hijacked machines download the pornographic ads from a single Web server. According to the computer investigators, that machine apparently is owned by Everyones Internet, a large independent Internet service company in Houston that also offers Web hosting services to a large number of companies. Jeff Lowenberg, the company's vice president of operations, said that he was not aware of any illegal activity on one of his company's computers but said that he would investigate. Mr. Stewart said the ring was most likely a work in progress, and that flaws, like being tied to a single server, would be eliminated over time. He said the ring was troubling not just because of what it is being used for now but also because of what it might be used for next. "This system is especially worrisome because they have an end-to-end anonymous system for spamming and running scams," he said. "It's not a far stretch to say that people who are running kiddie porn sites could say, `Hey, this is something we could use.' " The computer ring is the latest in an evolution of attacks that allow creators of spam and illicit computer schemes to use other people's computers as accomplices. For several years, senders of spam have relied upon a vestigial element of the Internet mail infrastructure known as "open relay" to use Internet servers as conduits for their spam. As network administrators have gradually shut down the open relay networks, spam senders have used viruses to plant similar capabilities on home and business computers. But this appears to be the first viral infection to cause target computers to display whole Web sites, Mr. Smith, the researcher, said. A Justice Department official said that the computer ring, as described to him, could be a violation of at least two provisions of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The ring has also been used to run a version of a scheme for collecting credit card information from unwary consumers that has been called the "PayPal scam," Mr. Smith said. The hijacked computers send e-mail messages that purport to come from PayPal, an online payment service owned by eBay, asking recipients to fill out a Web site form with account information. It is unclear precisely how the program, which depends on computers hooked up to high-capacity, high-speed Internet connections, gets into people's computers. Mr. Smith said that he thought that the delivery vehicle was a variant of the "sobig" virus. But Mr. Stewart, the computer security expert at Lurhq, said he had seen no evidence that the "sobig" virus was the culprit, and is looking at other mechanisms for delivery. Neither Mr. Smith nor Mr. Stewart has found a simple way to tell whether a computer is infected. Technically, the rogue program is a reverse proxy server, which turns a computer into a conduit for content from a server while making it appear to be that server. Mr. Smith said when word of the program gets out, antivirus companies are likely to offer quick updates to their products to find and disable the invasive software. Computer owners can protect themselves by using firewall software or hardware, which prevent unauthorized entry and use of computers, Mr. Smith said. The rogue program does not affect the Apple Macintosh line of computers or computers running variants of the Unix operating system. Mr. Stewart, who has written a technical paper to help antivirus companies devise defenses against the porn-hijacking network, has named the program "migmaf," for "migrant Mafia," because he thinks the program originated in the Russian high-tech underworld. Hackers from the former Soviet Union have been linked to several schemes, including extortion attempts in which they threaten to shut down online casinos through Internet attacks unless the companies pay them off. Antispam activists have also accused Russian organized crime organizations of taking over home and business PC's to create networks for sending spam. "They always seem to lead back to the Russian mob," Mr. Stewart said.

Don't bother with formatting either... (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414787)

Thanks for the large block of text. Perhaps some might find it worthwhile to register for free in exchange for viewing a formatted version of the article. And get this...you don't even have to use your real name to register! They'll never know!

Better URL for the story (0)

patrick24601 (323165) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414741)

Here is a better URL that did not require registration http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/11/technology/11HAC K.html?ex=1058500800&en=dfe68a99bce4317d&ei=5062&p artner=GOOGLE

Recommended Daily Allowance (5, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414744)

Finally, though Microsoft is not mentioned,

Oh, but we'll take care of that.

why microsoft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414756)

seriously...slashdot readers can be so blind

why is it always and exploit on a microsoft OS?

well, maybe because the vast majority of people in the world use Windows. So if you're a hacker do you spend your time hacking Apple/Linux or Windows? Windows of course, because there are more users.

if Apple or Linux were the predominant OS in the world, then they would be the ones getting hacked and all of you would consider Windows to be "secure".

translation (5, Funny)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414759)

Finally, though Microsoft is not mentioned, people might start to understand what a monoculture of poor quality software enables.

Translation:

Finally, though Microsoft is not mentioned, I felt the need to work some shrill anti-Microsoft propaganda into this post, so Fuck Bill! And Free Kevin!

Great. (2, Funny)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414764)

I needed a new place to store/share mp3s.

Article Text (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414767)

More than a thousand unsuspecting Internet users around the world have recently had their computers hijacked by hackers, who computer security experts say are using them for pornographic Web sites.

The hijacked computers, which are chosen by the hackers apparently because they have high-speed connections to the Internet, are secretly loaded with software that makes them send explicit Web pages advertising pornographic sites and offer to sign visitors up as customers.

Unless the owner of the hijacked computer is technologically sophisticated, the activity is likely to go unnoticed. The program, which only briefly downloads the pornographic material to the usurped computer, is invisible to the computer's owner. It apparently does not harm the computer or disturb its operation.

The hackers operating the ring direct traffic to each hijacked computer in their network for a few minutes at a time, quickly rotating through a large number. Some are also used to send spam e-mail messages to boost traffic to the sites.

"Here people are sort of involved in the porno business and don't even know it," said Richard M. Smith, an independent computer researcher who first noticed the problem earlier this month. Mr. Smith said he thought the ring could be traced to Russian senders of spam, or unwanted commercial e-mail.

By hiding behind a ring of machines, the senders can cloak their identity while helping to solve one of the biggest problems for purveyors of pornography and spam: getting shut down by Internet service providers who receive complaints about the raunchy material.

The web of front machines hides the identity of the true server computer so "there's no individual computer to shut down," Mr. Smith said. "We're dealing with somebody here who is very clever."

By monitoring Web traffic to the porn advertisements, Mr. Smith has counted more than a thousand machines that have been affected.

The creators of the ring, whose identities are unknown, are collecting money from the pornographic sites for signing up customers, the security experts say. Many companies play this role in Internet commerce, getting referral fees for driving customers to sites with which they have no other connection.

The ring system could also be used by the hackers to skim off the credit card numbers of the people signing up, said Joe Stewart, senior intrusion analyst with Lurhq, a computer security company based in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The current version of the ring is not completely anonymous, since the hijacked machines download the pornographic ads from a single Web server. According to the computer investigators, that machine apparently is owned by Everyones Internet, a large independent Internet service company in Houston that also offers Web hosting services to a large number of companies. Jeff Lowenberg, the company's vice president of operations, said that he was not aware of any illegal activity on one of his company's computers but said that he would investigate.

Mr. Stewart said the ring was most likely a work in progress, and that flaws, like being tied to a single server, would be eliminated over time.

He said the ring was troubling not just because of what it is being used for now but also because of what it might be used for next.

"This system is especially worrisome because they have an end-to-end anonymous system for spamming and running scams," he said. "It's not a far stretch to say that people who are running kiddie porn sites could say, `Hey, this is something we could use.' "

The computer ring is the latest in an evolution of attacks that allow creators of spam and illicit computer schemes to use other people's computers as accomplices. For several years, senders of spam have relied upon a vestigial element of the Internet mail infrastructure known as "open relay" to use Internet servers as conduits for their spam.

As network administrators have gradually shut down the open relay networks, spam senders have used viruses to plant similar capabilities on home and business computers.

But this appears to be the first viral infection to cause target computers to display whole Web sites, Mr. Smith, the researcher, said.

A Justice Department official said that the computer ring, as described to him, could be a violation of at least two provisions of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The ring has also been used to run a version of a scheme for collecting credit card information from unwary consumers that has been called the "PayPal scam," Mr. Smith said. The hijacked computers send e-mail messages that purport to come from PayPal, an online payment service owned by eBay, asking recipients to fill out a Web site form with account information.

It is unclear precisely how the program, which depends on computers hooked up to high-capacity, high-speed Internet connections, gets into people's computers. Mr. Smith said that he thought that the delivery vehicle was a variant of the "sobig" virus. But Mr. Stewart, the computer security expert at Lurhq, said he had seen no evidence that the "sobig" virus was the culprit, and is looking at other mechanisms for delivery.

Neither Mr. Smith nor Mr. Stewart has found a simple way to tell whether a computer is infected. Technically, the rogue program is a reverse proxy server, which turns a computer into a conduit for content from a server while making it appear to be that server. Mr. Smith said when word of the program gets out, antivirus companies are likely to offer quick updates to their products to find and disable the invasive software.

Computer owners can protect themselves by using firewall software or hardware, which prevent unauthorized entry and use of computers, Mr. Smith said. The rogue program does not affect the Apple Macintosh line of computers or computers running variants of the Unix operating system.

Mr. Stewart, who has written a technical paper to help antivirus companies devise defenses against the porn-hijacking network, has named the program "migmaf," for "migrant Mafia," because he thinks the program originated in the Russian high-tech underworld.

Hackers from the former Soviet Union have been linked to several schemes, including extortion attempts in which they threaten to shut down online casinos through Internet attacks unless the companies pay them off.

Antispam activists have also accused Russian organized crime organizations of taking over home and business PC's to create networks for sending spam. "They always seem to lead back to the Russian mob," Mr. Stewart said.

A little late (4, Funny)

one9nine (526521) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414769)

Pete Townsend could have used this article a few months ago.

There's really only two relevant facts here. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6414775)

The holocaust never happened, and Anne Frank sucked a mile of Nazi cock.

Microsoft not mentioned? (2, Interesting)

LilJC (680315) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414777)

Maybe they didn't come out and say Windows for legal reasons. But get real, Macs and variants of Unix are not affected? If you were going to write this and you write it for those two, and you obviously want it on a lot of machines, what platform would you hack?

Not to mention the obviousness of using such a widespread and vulnerable platform. I think this is what everyone's getting at.

And to think of how many NT4 machines are out there with a root RPC vulnerability that MS refuses to fix. If someone's running NT4, I don't know how likely it is they are going to apply anti-virus patches. I think MS leaves footprints of vulnerabilities for this sort of problem for years after releasing products, regardless of actions others take to try to help.

Why don't they just say "Windows"?! (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414783)

The rogue program does not affect the Apple Macintosh line of computers or computers running variants of the Unix operating system.

According to that statement, my Amiga and Commodore 64 might be affected. 1000 computers affected one the net? That seems like the right number of those computers left in the world. I guess I'll have to spent days and nights wondering if mine are affected.

"The rogue program ..." (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414784)

The rogue program does not affect the Apple Macintosh line of computers or computers running variants of the Unix operating system.

Gosh, I wonder who it does affect? I mean, who's left?

Serious question: So why is the NY Times being so purposefully evasive?

Broadband providers are partially at fault (5, Interesting)

reimero (194707) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414789)

In my experience, end-users who are not tech-savvy have little real understanding of online security practices: they tend to ignore basic things such as updating antivirus dat files because they don't know or don't understand. And from my own experience, I know that broadband providers are more interested in pitching all their cool features than they are in educating users how to be safe. Seriously, how hard would it have been for my ISP to have included a Sygate or ZoneAlarm trial on the install CD they had to send out anyway?
What kills me is that it's in the ISP's best interests to encourage safe computer habits, and they don't really emphasize that.

These things really are problems (5, Interesting)

amishgeek (611733) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414806)

I deal with Starband (Satellite Internet for those unfamiliar), and Have seen problems with spambots/pornbots like this. People get infected with them, and they start spamming.

Here's the thing though, with StarBand, they have an auto-imposed limit of around 500mb/week upload, and if you go over it, you are automagically shut off for a few days. The problem with this, and I have seen it happen, is that the Spam/Pornbots can infect a Starband Customers computer, and easilly make them go over their weekly 500mb upload limit. Thus causing them to lose their internet connection.

This poses a real problem, not only for the end user (The people I deal with are all in the far reaches of Northern Minnesota where Satellite Internet is the ONLY broadband option) but also for the ISP's. Its viruses/bots like this that make it even more necessary for legislation to fight spam.

The writers of the Bots would be the spammers, not the owners of the infected systems. Just because I borrow your car to deliver the paper, does that mean that in reality, you delivered the paper because it was YOUR car?

-I may not me amish, but I am a geek!-

Twitter lives up to his name (0, Flamebait)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414815)

twitter writes ...Finally, though Microsoft is not mentioned, people might start to understand what a monoculture of poor quality software enables.

Twit.

Oh, he's not biased... *grin* (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414833)

The web of front machines hides the identity of the true server computer so "there's no individual computer to shut down," Mr. Smith said. "We're dealing with somebody here who is very clever."

Mr Smith:

For the sake of my sanity, I respectfully request that you not label these 2-bit punks as "clever", as you are giving them far more credit than they deserve. The folks who deserve the clever label work in marketing for Microsoft, because while they regularly advertise a secure operating system (that seems to get a critical "system comprimising" update at least once a week), they do not deliver on that promise yet manage to evade the wrath of people such as yourself.

I've noticed this... (1, Interesting)

dapuk (603973) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414866)

.. However, only the entry page was proxied (three A-Name entries for the domain - Cable/DSL addresses). URL's mentioned in spam will often point to these, though for heavier content (porn sites), only the initial page will be proxied. The domain listed in the spam message will often be very similar to the linked one from it (e.g. "thepornsite.com (==Proxy)" -> "pornsite.com (==real site, content)") Apparently this prevents most hosting companies/ISP's from shutting them down; and as mentioned in the article, the A-records for the proxy-domain are rotated regularly. A lot of money is paid for this illegal proxying "service" - approximately $500 a month, i've heard. The ones i've seen however, appear to be *nix boxes with SAMBA... though i didn't poke them too much. Thats quite unusual - windows is often a much easier target... But as these all had samba in common (139), i'd guess its a recent vulnerability in that...

Security and Microsoft (1)

geekmetal (682313) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414872)

What do you get when a product is made to sell (marketing guys dream) and not designed to tackle the task in hand with a proper apporach, read the discussion on "Quick 'n Dirty" vs. "Correct and Proper"? [slashdot.org] .

Microsoft is just living on a legacy of bad code (read insecure), they have enough money to start a project to clean up their OSes, but is that their preference? I think not. As long they have the stranglehold on the market they decide if you want a secure operating system, which is a no.

I hope to live to see the day when operating systems market for the PCs is better balanced

It's about time... (1, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414874)

Someone went to jail for running Microsoft Windows.

This isn't as far-fetched as you might think. For instance, the federal child-porn laws are strict-liability laws, which means that if someone is found in possession of child porn, they are guilty, regardless of how it got to their machine. So when these viruses start delivering child porn, some clueless windows user could literally get 5 to 10 years for running their machine without a firewall.

I say this is a good thing. When computer virus victims start getting jail time, the average populace will get serious about computer security. (Which of course, can only be a good thing for Linux.)

You know... (2, Interesting)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6414883)

A properly configured NT/2000/XP systems with the correct security settings and policies in place wouldn't have any problem preventing virii from doing anything.

If Linux were in the mainstream, everyone and their mom would be logged in as root, like Windows users are with administrative accounts anyway. So why even pretend that Linux, should it ever become as mainstream as Windows, would be inherently more secure? The issue here is educating the users who open "FREE COLLEGE WEBCAM HOTTIES.EXE" rather than improving the quality of the software.
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