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Mafia Tech Support

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the don-centrino-and-his-boys dept.

The Almighty Buck 323

Mzilikazi writes "A story from Wired about performing tech support for the mob, mainly focusing on gambling. Some interesting information is presented about P2P applications. Frankly it sounds like fiction to me (you can already imagine the movie being made -- 'I Was a Hacker for The Mob'), but the story is interesting nonetheless and shows that if you're skilled and determined but have a flexible moral compass, there's a lot of job opportunities out there." I started reading it for the mob references, but kept on reading for the details of how to run an illegal gambling organization.

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Ouch Codefella! (5, Interesting)

dolo666 (195584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526245)

Isn't the first rule, don't talk? This coder is going to get whacked! I would have kept my mouth shut if made a proggie for the mob. If I had a ham sandwich with Tony Soprano, I wouldn't talk about it for chrissakes.

The author Simson Garfinkel could also get whacked because he knows the guy who talked.

Maybe it's too Hollywood, but would you even risk it? Would you? So maybe they didn't pay the guy enough? He says he makes 1/3 of $150k, but he likes living under the radar. That makes sense for about two seconds. I'd rather make $150k and keep it in my shoebox.

They aren't paying the guy enough, so he bragged about it to Wired, who published it.

The chain of stupidity doesn't stop there. Now the IRS is after this guy for tax evasion, and they can connect him to the writer of the story and the mob itself, meaning some mob boss at the top is shitting his pants right now -- if this is isn't total BS.

"But in the fog of all those poker games, I had neglected to take the humanities classes required for graduation. So I left without a degree and moved to New York City. My plan was to become a professional card player."

And now the FBI knows you by name.

Re:Ouch Codefella! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526261)

1. Admin LAN for the Mafia.

2. ???

3. PROFIT!!

Re:Ouch Codefella! (2, Funny)

EricTheGreen (223110) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526308)

Actually, it would be the following...

1. Admin LAN for the Mafia

2. ???

3. Profit!!

4. Get whacked and dropped in the Hudson with a new pair cement overshoes.

Re:Ouch Codefella! (1)

narkotix (576944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526512)

you even get ur own heavies like cosmo did in this film! [imdb.com]

Re:Ouch Codefella! (3, Funny)

tedDancin (579948) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526302)

The author Simson Garfinkel could also get whacked because he knows the guy who talked.

The authors could've figured out a more cryptic pseudonym. Expect a knock on your door Simon and Garfunkel! (:

Simson Garfinkel is a real author (5, Informative)

umofomia (639418) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526421)

The story is fiction. The author, Simson Garfinkel [simson.net] is a grad student at MIT. Do a search [slashdot.org] in slashdot's archives and you'll see him mentioned in the past on all sorts of stories. He's also written a bunch of O'Reilly books [oreillynet.com] .

Re:Simson Garfinkel is a real author (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526590)

His main claim to fame is that he's the guy who burned a NeXTCube.

Re:Simson Garfinkel is a real author (0, Redundant)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526679)

Gee that's a pretty impressive resume

Look on the bright side (5, Funny)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526358)

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase googlewhack.

Re:Ouch Codefella! (3, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526382)

This guy is obviously a shill. I mean it's a fucking article in Wired for god's sake, of course it's garbage.

Re:Ouch Codefella! (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526751)

Yes, but it's award winning, 1337, h|p573r garbage.

Re:Ouch Codefella! (3, Insightful)

asdfghjklqwertyuiop (649296) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526390)

I'm kind of suspect of this story. The guy claims he could be making $150,000 above ground as a programmer? Where exactly are these $150k programming jobs, in 2003?

Re:Ouch Codefella! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526509)

Verilog and VHDL.

Re:Ouch Codefella! (4, Funny)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526434)

I'd rather make $150k and keep it in my shoebox.

Good luck finding a company that will pay directly into a shoebox...

Re:Ouch Codefella! (0, Redundant)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526718)

Well the whole advantage of going with the mob (or doing other illegal jobs, like selling weed) is that there are no taxes. You sell the weed for cash, you use the cash to buy groceries etc, and I'm guessing you somehow get enough money in non-cash form to pay rent and bills.

yay (-1, Offtopic)

notoriousE (723905) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526247)

yay first post... unethical hax0ring is cool yay

Aluminum foil hat time again (2, Troll)

rot26 (240034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526249)

I dunno. If it didn't have Simson Garfinkle's byline, I'd think the whole thing was pure bullshit made up by a Bushie purely as propoganda to prove the need to use their patriot muscle to crack down on "regular" crime. It reads like a "what's what" list of things that probably kill the boner Ashcroft gets every time he thinks about how great it is to track people with their OnStar systems.

Whack-whack-whack (1)

e_pluribus_funk (648835) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526712)

here come the black helicopters, only now they are coming for the lefties. I guess every group has their raving mad paranoid lunatics.

Average geek (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526256)

You'd figure the average geek would make one too many Simpson's reference about "Fat Tony" and get his ass whacked before he could do anything useful.

Re:Average geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526806)

I'm not sure that should even be modded Funny.

Seriously, most geeks I know are not the type of people who are likely to get along in an environment where loyalty and paying respect to the right people is critical.

I know I could never be unquestioningly loyal to someone no matter what they did, or show respect to someone who was behaving like an a*hole. And I don't respond well to threats.

Of course it's possible that some mafia operations are distanced enough from the mafia culture that they could reasonably employ people who aren't really into the "mafia thing".

BULLSHIT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526267)

This story is bullshit. Everyone knows the mob doesn't use computers. It's all kept on paper, written by hand. Michael Jackson is innocent! Bush is not lying to you! Kennedy was killed by Oswald and nobody else!

Re:BULLSHIT (0, Troll)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526362)

I agree with the latter 50% of your post. Take away the no computers part and the Michael Jackson part. Have you seen Michael Jackson? or even heard him speak? Come on you can't seriosuly think he's innocent.

Re:BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526526)

would you trust a guy who speaks like this:
Tito pass the tissue!
OH jermaineeee!

Re:BULLSHIT (0, Offtopic)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526687)

Did you see the history channel special on JFK's assasination? Oswald was a patsy. There was a gunman on the grassy knoll and image enhancements of photos taken of the shooting prove it. The Warren Commission was a giant government orchestrated cover up.

Sneakers (2, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526268)

Wasn't that what the baddie from Sneakers did?

I helped a couple setup an online casino (-1, Offtopic)

Trolling 4 dollas (723481) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526280)

I didn't kick their ass either I swear. They paid me pretty well for doing it and I went on my way. Looks to me like their doing pretty well too, they live close by my house and they've got nice cars and the like. Jon Dalton told the big lie, Jeff Probst told all to a friend of a friend. Next episode Jon will tell the tribe that his dad is dying of cancer and he needs the money to pay for treatment or he'll die. It's all fake, what a loser.

But do they have jackets? (5, Funny)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526282)

But do they walk around in jackets with MAFIA written on their back in neon-green electropigment?

"Mafia, you've got a friend in the family."

Re:But do they have jackets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526407)

no, they have turned them black.

Re:But do they have jackets? (4, Funny)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526519)

No, these days, the organized crime goes around with "FBI" written on their back in neon-green electropigment, and they specialize in Voter Fraud instead of Alcohol Provision.

Re:But do they have jackets? (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526681)

But do they walk around in jackets with MAFIA written on their back in neon-green electropigment?

No, Uncle Enzo didn't like the color.

imagine the movie? (4, Insightful)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526286)

(you can already imagine the movie being made -- 'I Was a Hacker for The Mob')

I prefer the title "Sneakers".

Re:imagine the movie? (4, Funny)

pergamon (4359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526579)

Don't kid yourself -- it's not that organized.

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IRS (-1, Troll)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526298)

Oh yeah. What a moron. From what I've read about the Mob and the FBI. They get nailed for not paying taxes!

Moron! Moron! Moron!

Other possible mob ventures (5, Funny)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526299)

Well. They may be useful in dealing with spam, as seen in this classic item posted on now [sadly] defunct Segfault back in april 99:

Mafia Don Announces New Anti-Spam Venture

As the NSA and FBI fear, traditional crime organizations have been incorporating high-tech communication into their organizations. Although Janet Reno was quoted stating "This is law enforcement's worst nightmare.", techies around the world are sure to be pleased with one New York Syndicate's new venture.

It all started when Don Dominiqi signed onto his AOL account last Monday morning. His inbox was filled with "Make Money Fast", "Viagra On-Line", and "Teenybopper Web Sex" ads. Lost amidst the drivel was an important note detailing a non-taxed shipment of Marlboros, which were later confiscated by the BATF. Little did he know, as he shouted "Bring me the left hand of this f*cking gutterslime!" what would become of it all.

Later that same day, Billy "Run!" Brutekowski and Larry "My Eyes!" Plucker cornered the pasty-faced offender of the Family in a small cyber cafe in Greenwich Village. "This was by far the creepiest place the Boss has ever sent us." stated Billy, who only spoke on condition of anonymity. "Everyone in this place looked pale and sickly, like they had already been 'spoken to'. We asked for this punk, and several people quickly pointed him out. Most of the scum we find in gin joints aren't so quick to finger one of their own," Billy continued.

"He must not watch much TV, because this sh*t didn't even flinch when we came to the corner he was hiding in," Larry proceeded to relate. "We dropped this sheet of paper the Boss had given us on his table and he says 'So you guys want to make money fast, eh?' He puts out his and says to give him $20. This scrawny little dirtball tells me to give him $20!" Larry was quite agitated at this part in his story, and his description of how Sammy Spammer's hand fell off was quite garbled.

Billy continued, "Up till now, this was a routine visit. We was just being playful. The weird sh*t began when we tried to leave." "This pimply faced kid blocks the door as we try to leave, and I'm thinking to myself 'Great, a f*cking Karate Kid hero. He just stand there, and then he hands me a $5 bill." Billy pulls out the $5, and holds it like it is his first quarter from his favorite grandmother. "They lined up after that, and we had $175 in 'tips' when we left the joint."

Later that day the Don himself visited the caf, unwilling to believe the story. Although the details are unclear, sources at the caf indicate that the Don has hired them to build and host a new Anti-Spam site. Through a SSL transaction system, the site will accept spam complaints and credit card donations towards 'solutions to problems'. Multiple complaints against the same spammer are added to the total until an acceptable solution has been found.

Larry tells us that a typical $250 solution is a broken hand, and for $2000 all anyone ever sees again of 'the problem' are his shoes.

The URL is to be announced next week, and the cyber caf's phones have been jammed with requests for more information.

might be a workable business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526668)

What price the heads of the world's top 200 spammers (as rated by spamhaus), and how many of us would be willing to chip in $5/head towards collecting them?

If this guy exists... (4, Insightful)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526301)

...then he has a pretty overinflated opinion of himself. He's like, "oh, I took a bunch of math and physics courses, but I forgot to my humanities!" He tries to romanticize "the life of a mob hacker," but he fails it.

Look at it carefully, and it won't look like some stealthy hacker but some dropout loser nerd.

Re:If this guy exists... (5, Insightful)

W2k (540424) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526466)

You can make anyone's story seem like a loser's story if your mind is set on viewing it that way. It's all about perspective, you will automatically interpret a story in such a way that it turns out as you would like it to, if at all possible, effectively fooling yourself.

Take Slashdot as a prime example of this. How many articles and headlines on this site cannot be considered misleading, just because the authors have a heavy pro-free-software/pro-linux bias which colors the language of their posts? Looking at the (usually) more objectively written original story linked from a typical /. article, the truth is often quite different from what we get presented with on this site, which is simply someone's biased interpretation. Same thing as what's going on here. If your mind is set on viewing mr "mob hacker" as a loser, that's the way you're going to see it, so certain that your own point of view is the One True.

I for one will have to agree that the author does seem to have something of a swollen ego, though I don't think he fails in portraying his life in a "romanticized" way, I wouldn't consider him a "dropout loser" either. At least he's got a job, which is more than can be said for many /. readers.

Re:If this guy exists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526544)

I wouldn't consider him a "dropout loser" either. At least he's got a job, which is more than can be said for many /. readers.

So maybe many slashdot readers are "dropout loser"s too :D

Re:If this guy exists... (2, Interesting)

the_duke_of_hazzard (603473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526762)

"When you get right down to it, I'm an idealist. I don't condone the actions of the US government."

But he does condone the actions of the Mafia...?

And another thing: "$150,000 as a programmer on the open market. But I make a third of that. [...] When you start making a lot of money, you get noticed by the biggest bullies on the block - the cops and the IRS [...] Because I get paid entirely in cash, I don't fork over any taxes"

Tax is over 66% where he is? No wonder he hates the government...

I think I heard about that "gang" (1)

Aliencow (653119) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526309)

The guys farking with everyone on the net... what are they called already? The "MAFIAA" or something I think... I have a conscience, I'll never for for them !

Bunch Bull (5, Insightful)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526313)

This article is as fake as a letter to Miss Manners or a WWW match...

The fact remains that I could be pulling in $150,000 as a programmer on the open market. But I make a third of that. So why am I risking a prison sentence or the potential of a lifetime in witness protection for a job that doesn't make me all that rich? Simple: When you start making a lot of money, you get noticed by the biggest bullies on the block - the cops and the IRS - and I don't want that. I like living below the radar.

Ah if you are working in the "open market" than you do not have to worry about "living below the radar".

The next juicy part

I don't fork over any taxes. When you get right down to it, I'm an idealist. I don't condone the actions of the US government. By refusing to pay taxes, I withhold my financial support. And, truth be told, I like mobsters. They're more willing to accept you at face value.

There you have it a moral mobster. Someone who does not condone the actions of the US government but overlooks the actions of the mob.

Re:Bunch Bull (5, Insightful)

jcam2 (248062) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526411)

There you have it a moral mobster. Someone who does not condone the actions of the US government but overlooks the actions of the mob.

Since these 'mobsters' are merely taking bets from consenting adults, I'd say there are really quite moral. Only a stupid law has turned what should be a perfectly legal activity into a crime, which of course attracts organized crime groups.

Co-incidentally, relatives of a friend of mine operated a very similar business in Malaysia, where gambling is even more heavily restricted than in the US. Naturally, they were little different from the Mafia, and used violence to get ahead. On the other hand, in places like Las Vegas where gambling is mostly legal, you don't see legitimate casino operators putting out contracts on each others' lives.

Conclusion - when the government turns a consensual activity like selling drugs, sex or wagers into a crime, the amount of real violent crime is actually increased.

Re:Bunch Bull (2, Informative)

dvdeug (5033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526809)

Only a stupid law has turned what should be a perfectly legal activity into a crime,

The government has to be involved, because if there's a hundred thousand dollars riding on a horse or a spin of a wheel, several people have quite a motivation in fixing that game. Historically speaking, they have often fixed the game. If you let every shyster with a deck set up a casino, there's going to be many stacked decks.

On the other hand, in places like Las Vegas where gambling is mostly legal, you don't see legitimate casino operators putting out contracts on each others' lives.

After one heck of a crackdown on organized crime. I spoke recently with an coroner who used to work in Las Vegas. Used to be 170 murders a year for a population of 1/3 of a million. Now it's 170 murders a year out of 2 million people. Gambling is high money and it's all about trust, meaning that the mob is likely to turn up where ever it exists.

LCN rules (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526319)

tutti di tutti capi!

sammy the bull is a fag!

Re:LCN rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526329)

tard, it's capo di tutti capi

Hmf. (2, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526331)

Essentially, the system acts as a market maker, matching up people who want to take different sides of a sports bet.

He's got his terminology wrong. That's not a market maker, that's a *market*. A market maker is just someone who's required to offer a particular price on both sides of the book in return for some preferential treatment by the exchange.

It's really no big deal... (1)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526337)

A friend of mine ran deliveries for mobster types in college. It was contracts (the paper kind) and banking/financial crap for the most part.

Article Text (-1, Redundant)

Melissa Bra (725769) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526338)

CodeFellas

Smart mobs? Fuhgeddaboutit. Not till they hired me. Now they're getting a secure P2P bet-processing system. A mafia hacker tells his story to Wired.

By Simson Garfinkel

On a traffic-clogged street in midtown Manhattan - sandwiched among the bars, massage parlors, and cheap diners - there's a small glass door that leads to my office. The building has no doorman, no front desk, and no video surveillance cameras. We don't go in for that type of security. I walk through the door, down a long corridor to an elevator. When I press the button, the elevator starts with a jump, and a bell on the third floor rings. Now the boys upstairs know that someone's coming.

The bell is a warning: It could be the police, so get ready to run. But even if the cops come, they'll be waylaid by an imposing lock - giving my friends time to scramble down the fire escape to the street below.

F. Scott Schafer

Of course, I've got a key. I unlock the door and enter another world. Inside is a small-scale gambling operation the likes of which you'll find scattered all over the city - if you know where to look. I scan the room to see who's there. Most days, there are three middle-aged men sitting at desks, talking on phones so old that they could have been used on the set of Lou Grant. We're talking first-generation touchtone sets with big square buttons that light up when a line is in use.

Today there's just Tony. He glances over his shoulder and nods at me. "Let me check," he mutters into the phone. He peers intently at the screen of a rather beat-up PC and eyeballs the odds for one of today's baseball games. We track four casinos in Las Vegas and set our odds by averaging theirs. The casinos might be offering a $150 return on a $100 wager if, say, the Red Sox beat the Yankees. Tony scrolls down and gives him the line. There's a pause. Then he smiles. The caller likes the odds. "OK, how much?" Tony scribbles a few numbers on an index card and hangs up. The tape recorder shuts off. Like a brokerage house, we record every conversation - just in case there's a dispute with one of our customers. Of course, you never hear about those disputes: The entire transaction between Tony and the caller is illegal. If he accepts four more bets today, he's in felony territory, an offense punishable by up to three years in prison.

Tony looks up. "That's the first call I had all morning," he says. A few more mouseclicks and he's back to solitaire.

Everyone thinks they know what the mob is like. It's something you learn from watching The Sopranos and GoodFellas, something that involves Joe Pesci, baked manicotti, and a dead guy in the trunk. But that's not what I've seen during my two years working for organized crime. My sense is that the mob works a lot like GE or Time Warner. It's more Jack Welch than John Gotti.

When a so-called mobster gets caught, the cops always lie, and the journalists believe what they're told. The cops will say that millions of dollars move through offices like mine, and that all of the money goes to some big crime family. It makes great headlines, but it's laughably untrue. Perhaps we move millions of dollars over the course of a year, but we keep only a small percentage of that - "the juice." The rest gets paid out as winnings, at better odds than you'll find in any legitimate game of chance.

Then there's the misconception that if you don't pay your debts, the mob will break your legs. I've seen that on TV but never in real life. Sure, some agents make their collection runs with a bodyguard, but wouldn't you want some muscle around if you were carrying tens of thousands of dollars in cash? Breaking people's legs is bad business. If somebody doesn't pay their debts because they're broke, maiming them isn't going to put cash in your bank account. Still, the threat of pain remains a valuable deterrent. Tell your customers that you're breaking people's legs and there's no reason to actually do it. Truth is, when people don't cover their debts, we put them on a payment plan. If that doesn't work, we spread the word that they're a bad risk. Basically, we fuck up their underground credit rating.

The whole business of taking bets and paying out is based entirely on trust. The wagers are a form of credit, advanced on trust between the agent and the players. The people placing the bets trust that they'll get paid if they win. Everyone trusts that nobody is going to call the cops. It works because everything is compartmentalized - people keep to themselves, just like stock traders don't socialize much with construction workers.

My job is a lot like managing any other venture. I make sure that people show up on time, that bills get paid, and that the customers and employees are reasonably happy.

But that's not all I do. I'm tech support for the mob. From the moment I started this gig, I realized just how behind this gang is when it comes to technology. Forget about the paperless office. These guys are buried in pulp. But when they want to revamp their systems, it's not like they can call McKinsey for advice. That's where I come in.

I'm building a secure, online, peer-to-peer, encrypted, redundant bet-processing system with an offshore data warehouse. Ordinary companies would hire a team to put this together; I'm working with one guy. Getting the system up and running is a three-step process. First, eliminate all those incriminating little pieces of paper. Instead of writing down a wager, the operator will enter the bet onto an online form. The whole transaction will be encrypted by a browser and sent over the Net to a server running in an undisclosed country where the laws are more liberal than they are in the US. Essentially, the system acts as a market maker, matching up people who want to take different sides of a sports bet.

CodeFellas (continued)

You think IBM needs encryption to protect its assets? Our backend servers will all be based on Mandrake Linux, one of the few versions of Linux that offers encryption for both user data and the swap partition. When you reboot, you'll have to log in and type a password to bring up the database and applications. The final system will have not one but three servers, all located in different jurisdictions. Each transaction will be recorded at two servers for redundancy. The entire system will be backed up by S/MIME-encrypted email sent from each system to dead-drop mailboxes located somewhere else on the planet - a place where sports betting is legal.

F. Scott Schafer
The second step is to move beyond matching up two bettors and program the computer to take a side when no one is willing to take theirs.

Finally, we'll be moving to voice over IP. With our operators working out of their homes using cable modem or DSL - as a modern employer, we have to offer a flexible work environment - it's a simple matter to run voice over the same high-speed line. This has the advantage of eliminating all those traceable phone calls while simultaneously letting us encrypt our voice communications.

A few years ago, then FBI director Louis Freeh warned Congress that if encryption technology wasn't controlled, drug dealers, organized criminals, terrorists, and child pornographers would soon be using it to protect their records. Freeh was half right. We are using encryption, but we'd be using it even if it was illegal. The fact that it's built into the operating system just makes my job easier.

So what's a nice techie like me doing in a place like this? I gotta be honest. For starters, I don't think there's anything wrong with gambling - it's a private, symmetrical transaction between consenting adults. By another name - lottery, casino, offtrack betting - this sort of operation is completely legal. And it's not like I'm shaking people down for protection money. Besides, I tried the dotcom thing and failed. Plus, here I'm appreciated: Organized crime is smart enough to know that it doesn't know tech.

I was always good at math. Arithmetic, algebra, and especially probability came easy. I learned to program computers when I was 9 and cotaught a programming course in C to fellow high school students because none of the teachers knew the language. My mother was a champion bridge player. When I was a kid she never let me win. I had to beat her by my own wits.

In college, I took all the physics and math courses I could handle. I also played a lot of cards. At the end of four years, I had completed the course work for a math major and most of what was required for a chemistry major. But in the fog of all those poker games, I had neglected to take the humanities classes required for graduation. So I left without a degree and moved to New York City. My plan was to become a professional card player.

Card clubs are all over the city. They're not hard to find, and they're tolerated, more or less, by the cops. A friend of mine played poker at one of these clubs. I sat in once or twice. Then he asked me to join a gin rummy team. When my luck ran out, I played with other people's money. That was it. The moment I played for hire was the moment I joined the mob. It didn't seem like a big decision. To me, these people weren't crooks, they were card players.

But I was more than that. I was a hardcore tech geek. Before long, I was installing phones for a friend who was setting up a series of sports-betting operations. I was the only one he knew who understood how his '70s-era systems worked. I could make calls hunt from one desk set to the next and could hook up the voice-activated cassette recorders that taped incoming calls. Not tough stuff, but as I said, there's not a lot of technical expertise in New York's crime community. After I set up a few offices, I started running one of them. Bang. I was in. Seriously in.

The fact remains that I could be pulling in $150,000 as a programmer on the open market. But I make a third of that. So why am I risking a prison sentence or the potential of a lifetime in witness protection for a job that doesn't make me all that rich? Simple: When you start making a lot of money, you get noticed by the biggest bullies on the block - the cops and the IRS - and I don't want that. I like living below the radar. I sublet a friend's apartment and pay his utility bills with money orders that I purchase at the post office or at one of those check-cashing storefronts. Because I get paid entirely in cash, I don't fork over any taxes. When you get right down to it, I'm an idealist. I don't condone the actions of the US government. By refusing to pay taxes, I withhold my financial support. And, truth be told, I like mobsters. They're more willing to accept you at face value. They aren't hung up on college degrees, or where you live, or how many criminal convictions you have.

Yes, I am a hacker for the mob. And damn proud of it.

How the FUCK is this redundant?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526375)

Fucking mods

Re:How the FUCK is this redundant?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526426)

It's redundant because it's already been posted in the article summary. There's no reason to duplicate it again in the comments.

Re:How the FUCK is this redundant?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526525)

The whole article was posted in the article summary? Fuck you.

Re:How the FUCK is this redundant?! (0, Troll)

PetWolverine (638111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526540)

If you want to RTFA, click the link. I don't want to have to scroll past this long and pointless post.

Re:Article Text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526395)

karma whore. wired ain't going to get slashdotted. learn some tact, nube.

Reminds me of a fortune cookie (5, Funny)

dido (9125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526346)

From one of the BSD Games fortune cookies:

A gangster assembled an engineer, a chemist, and a physicist. He explained that he was entering a horse in a race the following week and the three assembled guys had the job of assuring that the gangster's horse would win. They were to reconvene the day before the race to tell the gangster how they each propose to ensure a win. When they reconvened the gangster started with the engineer:

Gangster: OK, Mr. engineer, what have you got?

Engineer: Well, I've invented a way to weave metallic threads into the saddle blanket so that they will act as the plates of a battery and provide electrical shock to the horse.

G: That's very good! But let's hear from the chemist.

Chemist: I've synthesized a powerful stimulant that dissolves into simple blood sugars after ten minutes and therefore cannot be detected in post-race tests.

G: Excellent, excellent! But I want to hear from the physicist before I decide what to do. Physicist?

Physicist: Well, first consider a spherical horse in simple harmonic motion...

I wonder what a computer scientist would be up to? ;)

Re:Reminds me of a fortune cookie (1)

Pink Puppy (22983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526429)

The version I knew was about a dairy and the punchline was:

'Consider a spherical cow isotropically emitting milk'

Re:Reminds me of a fortune cookie (2, Funny)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526465)

Easy. Crack into the betting system and either change your bet, or change the results of the race.

Re:Reminds me of a fortune cookie (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526490)

The only computer engineer joke I know goes like this, in the Reader's Digest version:

4 engineers on train, train breaks down. Mechanical engineer: "I felt a strange vibration, perhaps there's something wrong with the propulsion." Chemical engineer: "The exhaust smells a little off, it could be a bad fuel mixture." Civil engineer: "I also felt the vibration, perhaps the tracks are damaged." Finally, they turn to the computer engineer for his opinion.

"Well, I'm not really sure, but we could have everyone get off the train and get back on."

Re:Reminds me of a fortune cookie (1)

PetWolverine (638111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526561)

What is pi?

Mathematician: Pi is a mathematical constant expressing the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.
Physicist: Pi is 3.1415926535897932384626 +/- .0000000000000000000005.
Engineer: Pi is about 3.

Re:Reminds me of a fortune cookie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526513)

Far fetched, but why not leave a little present for the other jockies? Maybe a horses head or somethin' like that.

Mod me down. I'm just a troll.

i thought this was old news (1, Funny)

glassesmonkey (684291) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526355)

"tech support for the mob" and "about P2P applications"

I thought organized crime on the internet has already hit the news...
extorting people for money, manipulating courts and laywers, going after people's teenage daughters.. (shoot, now I'm confused if I mean SCO or RIAA)

But if you're really evil... (3, Funny)

Ernst Preuss (690344) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526360)

If you have a wayward moral compass, work for the mob. But for the trully evil there is the RIAA.

He'll be fine just as long as he remembers to... (1)

splaytree (13203) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526365)

1. Don't underestimate the other guy's greed
2. Don't get high on his own supply
3. First get the money, then get the power, then finally get the women.
4. Leave the gun, take the cannoli.

give it up CowboyNeal (3, Funny)

squarefish (561836) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526366)

I started reading it for the mob references, but kept on reading for the details of how to run an illegal gambling organization."

you'll never be incognito

sorry....
;)

Re:give it up CowboyNeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526792)

Yeah, when Cowboy Neal walks down the street, people go "God DAMMIT! That kid's a real fat fuck!".

Cowboy Neal gives it to you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526794)

In Cock? Neato!

Stupid Excuses (3, Insightful)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526369)

His excuse for not paying taxes is he doesn't agree with everything the US does. Hell, I don't agree with most of what the US does right now, but I still pay my taxes. Somehow, I doubt GWB is saying, `Gosh, some guy in Manhattan stopped paying his taxes. I must be on the wrong track.' But is it just me, or does this sound like a phony excuse?

`The fact remains that I could be pulling in $150,000 as a programmer on the open market.' Yeah. Right. He must be a much better coder than he sounds if he could be making that right now with no college degree and no formal training. Maybe during the dotcoms, but now? And even if he could, I find it hard to imagine he'd give that all up because he `like[s] living below the radar.' Kudos to the poster for seeing through this self-aggrandizing fabrication.

Re:Stupid Excuses (0, Offtopic)

GMontag (42283) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526524)

If he lives in NY he is paying plenty of taxes when he spends his money. He is just fooling himself, all he is avoiding is income taxes.

Re:Stupid Excuses (3, Interesting)

altek (119814) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526557)

Furthermore...

This guy doesn't agree with transportation systems, freeways, his (probably) public education, the fact that he can call 911 when he falls asleep with a bottle of scotch and a cigarette in his hand and his carpet starts on fire, etc, etc...

I highly doubt this book is even a true story anyway, so I don't know why I'm thinking about it, but this is the classic example of the freeloader problem. An excuse to take advantage of the services provided by other taxpayers' money.

Manhattan (1)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526560)

The hot topic of the day usually pays around $1500 a day for six months or so in Manhattan. This is entirely feasable, but most of the people pulling down that kind of cash have very good connections and plenty of experience.

Re:Manhattan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526572)

The hot topic of the day usually pays around $1500 a day for six months or so in Manhattan.

Is that supposed to make sense to anybody outside of Manhattan?

Mandrake==Encryption? (1)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526374)

I didnt know that, the last time I used it, I think 8.2 or something, it didnt. Anyone know how to get this functionality in Debian with apt-get (stable, testing or unstable doesnt matter) or something else that is fairly simple? I've never really looked into it, or would it be easier to just download the Mandrake ISO files?

Re:Mandrake==Encryption? (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526594)

Go with Mandrake. You get all the power of debian thanks to urpmi (and there's work being done on being able to roll-back upgrades through urpmi as well).

ha! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526388)

First, eliminate all those incriminating little pieces of paper.

as opposed to an electronic transaction that can easily be snoop(1)'d by uncle sam. encrypted or not ... paper rules for this stuff

You've been had! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526409)

The author is Simson Garfinkel? Yes, Simson Garfinkel [simson.net] , who "holds three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a masters of science degree from Columbia University," is a "doctorial candidate at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory," and "still writes for Wired on an occasional basis."

aren't you people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526440)

Supposed to be in bed?
It's not like if it was daylight for half of the world!
Oh! wait...

Seems a little too far fetched (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526449)

Seems a little beyond credibility that someone would tell this story to Wired. It looks like someone is trying to sell their movie script by creating a "buzz".

Standard Cliche (0, Troll)

toupsie (88295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526481)

Worst. Mob. Tech. Support. Story. Ever.

looks like bs (2, Interesting)

asv108 (141455) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526484)

I realize Wired has always run a fine line between journalism and fiction in the past, but in recent yeas the magazine has gotten so bad that I'm seriously thinking of not renewing my subscription. Also, I enjoy seeing the mac covered, which many other publications ignore, but Wired has gone insane with the mac-centric stories. Sorry but just because Apple is somehow involved does not make a story newsworthy.

actualy... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526491)

I used to do something that was both illegal and geeky at the same time!

I used to buy and sell texas instruments calculators at my highschool.
People would steal them out of backpacks, lockers, etc.. I would buy them from them for many $20 each, and then sell them around school or on Ebay usualy getting $40-$60 each.

Re:actualy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526685)


>I used to do something that was both illegal and
>geeky at the same time!

I modified a soda machine to dispense beer bottles. It was a coke machine from the late 70's, the kind where bottles roll laterally, and you pull one out from the front. With a little help from the on-campus machine shop, our house had a quite illegal, 24 hour beer machine. Imports at 75 cents a pop.

The beer machine and the joust game helped pay the rent.

Re:actualy... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526686)

Fuck you. I had my TI-85 stolen once. People like you should be dragged into the street and fucking shot. ASSHOLE.

Re:actualy... (2, Insightful)

Xeger (20906) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526708)

I'm not going to nag you about morals; I'd just like to point out that stealing calculators isn't all that geeky. It's merely illegal. But anyone can steal stuff from someone's backpack. In fact, students make better targets than most.

No, a *genuinely* illegal geeky thing to do would be to make peoples' calculators appear broken, and offer to buy the "broken" calcs from them. Then take the calcs to another school to sell them. Maybe find a combination of buttons, or a weakness in the design that was easy to break and easy to repair.

2 application I heard of... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526498)

I heard of 2 applications "for the mob". The most common code for the mafia is the usual "double book accounting" application. At midnight or from a hidden menu half the sales are erased, the tax to be sent adjusted and a number is shown to be removed, in cash of course. It never removes more than the cash in the register a lot easier in case of an audit.

The other application is the other way around. At 6AM, the application creates "fake sales" for the previous day; I heard this specifically for video stores (own by the Hells Angels). A bunch of tapes that really spent the night in the store, indicated as returned during the night, and compiled for the 6AM opening. Why you ask? Money laundering. These "fake sales" produces clean money at the cost of the tax. The stores accepted cash only, and the owner simply adds the indicated amount in the register.

I am always suspicious of stores that accept cash only! Or like that not too bright fellow who made 250K$ that year, with 4 peanuts distribution machines that takes only quarter, without ever bringing a single quarter to the bank, Only bills!

The IRS had a good case!

Not if there was a local casino. (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526761)

Stop by casino, quarters in, dollars out. They dump them in by weight, and then it figures out what they owe you in larger denominations.

At least that's the way it works around here...

Modern times (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526587)

I guess with guns so much smaller than in classic gangster movies, they can now vit them in laptop bags instead of violin cases.

Not so new news :) (2, Interesting)

djupedal (584558) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526600)

There have been many of these stories in the past few years. Mostly out of Vegas, yes. Seems there is a rather 'quiet' tech revolution going on, driven by tons of money and 'out of the box' needs.

As an example, the taxi companies monitor each other's phones and poach clients needing a cab. Sounds simple, but the timing involved would put a shuttle launch to shame :)

Don't get me wrong....there's nothing glam about it. The crime/drug/prostitution/money laundering that masks the real victimization has zero redeeming status.

Moral compasses and stuff (5, Insightful)

Zhe Mappel (607548) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526613)

...if you're skilled and determined but have a flexible moral compass, there's a lot of job opportunities out there.
And if you get tired of working for the mob, your moral dereliction will always be welcomed in the energy industry, corporate accounting, cable TV news, and the mutual funds market.

Re:Moral compasses and stuff (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526701)

But you will still need to lower your standards if you want a job with the RIAA.

This should be AC but WTF .... (4, Interesting)

leoaugust (665240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526623)

This should be AC but WTF ....

So what's a nice techie like me doing in a place like this? I gotta be honest. For starters, I don't think there's anything wrong with gambling - it's a private, symmetrical transaction between consenting adults. By another name - lottery, casino, offtrack betting - this sort of operation is completely legal. And it's not like I'm shaking people down for protection money. Besides, I tried the dotcom thing and failed. Plus, here I'm appreciated:

Here is what I would like to get published in the next issue of Wired ...

So what's a nice techie like me doing in a place like this? I gotta be honest. For starters, I don't think there's anything wrong with
drugs - it's a private, symmetrical transaction between an adult and his/her body. By another name - alcohol, tobacco, junk food - this sort of operation is completely legal. And it's not like I'm shaking people down for drug money. Besides, I tried the dotcom thing and failed. Plus, here I'm appreciated ...

Re:This should be AC but WTF .... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7526658)

you make a good point, drugs should be legal.

Mandrake... (-1, Offtopic)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526626)

Linux - basically cos ms-windows is insecure, too many backdoors and other ways for the Fibbies to exploit, viz "magic lantern [go.com] " etc.

Mandrake, cos of the encrypted swap partition... the others can encrypt the normal partitions, but leave stuff on the swap wide open...

It had to be said (0)

Cunning Bastard (721021) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526632)

Th3 m0b 0wN3s J0o!

SIGN ME UP (1)

mrnick (108356) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526641)

With the job shortages in the IT market I might just consider this / NOT. hmmmm

Nick Powers

The Record Connection (4, Funny)

SheldonYoung (25077) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526655)


CICILY, NEW WORK - A press release from the Recording Industry Artists of America indicates they have merged with the Mafia in a move to focus entirely on their core business, strong arm tactics and racketteering.

Well known inside man Simson Garfinkel wasn't availble for at the time of the interview. It is believe he is on vacation fishing with the swimmers in the East River. However, his musical partner Paul Art was available and made the comment "... with everybody downloading our music our careers were starting to suck even more, we needed protection. I mean, we couldn't have grandmothers downloading our music off KaZoom Light Extreme so contacting The Mob was the obvious choice. Plus now we have the inside track on our new musical winning a Fat Tony.".

In a related story it was revealted today the Mafia has connections to news site Slashdot and network provider Akamai. By threatening to submitting to story to Slashdot containing the phrases "Linus, hot grits, Natalie Portman, and homemade p0rn" with a link to the company website victims had little choice but to subscribe to Akamai services. It is rumoured the RIAA is attempting to partner with the mob to use this technique to boost diminishing traffic to the N' Sync web site.

Wired lies (4, Interesting)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526688)

Wired is famous for posting wildy exagerated fictional stories. It started with MicroSerfs in 1994(-5). They published this whole account of 8 Microsoft employees and their wild lives, and a few months later announced it was all a fictional story. Ever since then, I take everything they say with about 12 grains of salt.

Not to say that there *arent* computer geeks working for the mob, but this particular is probably pure fiction and completely exagerated.

I don't buy it. (1)

sllim (95682) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526710)

I think that a reporter and Wired editor were fooled big time.

I read the article in Wired, I put it down and said 'amusing, but total BS.'.

Nurturing the hacker fantasy (2, Interesting)

jdifool (678774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526719)

Hi,

despite the fact that this was written with such a fictionnal (and thus amusing) tone, and point of view (don't you think that it could have been a good introduction to a Casino-like movie ?), I have another concern about that kind of press release.

Such statements as "I'm a hacker for the mob and I'm proud of it" mix two differents things, that, even if they are well distinguished by the average geek population, might seem confusing, and maybe upseting, for the average non-geek population.

In a nutshell, this article will probably provide some more exposure for the 'bad, immoral, nasty hacker' character that is already wide-spread worldwide. If I'm not a /. reader and a willing-to-learn guy/girl (which is the case of many, many, many people around the globe), my first reaction will be to say : 'damn, those motherfuckers already put some viruses on my computer, now they're getting with the mob, ; kill'em'all, buddy, kill that fucking hacker'

By writing this, this guy wants to sail away from the hacker community ('yep guys, I fuck you deep, I earn 50000$ with my hacking skills'), AND from the whole mob, the true one. And this kind of behaviour had never resulted in something else that despise, anger, and fear from the uninformed people. Many people remain well uninformed about hackers at this time ; in my opinion, the hacker community shouldn't be labelled that way.

Because maybe at some point hackers will be hanged by the mob...

Regards,
Jdif

you the s/monster/mobster/ (3, Funny)

hpavc (129350) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526736)

God I hope they read my monster.com resume soon. I'll make sure to amend my resume with 'low moral compass'.

Stupid article (1, Troll)

mseeger (40923) | more than 10 years ago | (#7526742)

Hi,

please forgive me the flaming, but this is one of the silliest articles i've ever seen. Nor does he have any real information, neither is it funny. Instead of an insight we're given poor excuses for crime (don't want to support the goverment; we don't break legs, we just threaten to). Every drug adict has ten times better reasons. Please be aware that SPAM is related to the organized crime as well. If that guy had confesssed working for the MPAA or the RIAA to catch file swappers, the moral outrage on /. would be greater than working for the mobsters. Strange world...

Regards, Martin

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