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Virus Writers - The Enemy Within

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the vandals-and-visigoths dept.

Security 380

Slob Nerd writes "An interesting read from todays Observer "He's 21, he's got dreadlocks, likes punk bands... and his hobby could wreck your computer in seconds. Clive Thompson infiltrates the secret world of the virus writers who see their work as art - while others fear that it is cyber-terrorism.""

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My Hero (5, Informative)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355318)

I think this is the third time this story has been posted.

Googled version to NY Times story []

Of course, does it really count if the same story appears on a *different* page? Or a different website.

Maybe it's time that slashdot subscribers get a cached version of the story hosted on slashdot. That way, when an editor is about to submit a duplicate story, it'll check for similar articles cached on the site. That way this kind of thing doesn't keep happening. Hell... Slashdot editors won't even have to read slashdot anymore!

Thank you CmdrTaco for rejecting the story I just submitted in favor of this one. And I *know* the story I submitted wasn't a duplicate, or else my web server would have felt it. ;)

You really are my hero.

Re:My Hero (4, Informative)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355334)

Oh yeah...

The slashdot article where this story already appeared is here: 9&mode=nested []

Re:My Hero (4, Informative)

Motherfucking Shit (636021) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355385)

And just three days after that, it appeared here: 8&mode=thread []

Which, I imagine, makes this story not a dupe, but a triplicate!

Re:My Hero (4, Funny)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355468)

Not a dupe, but a tripe! Oh, wait...

Re:My Hero (1, Redundant)

rlowe69 (74867) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355474)

Which, I imagine, makes this story not a dupe, but a triplicate!

Would that be a tripe [] ? How appropriate.

Re:My Hero (0, Offtopic)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355342)

So if it's the third time it's posted, do all the trolls calling First Post lose Troll points?

Re:My Hero (-1, Offtopic)

Sogol (43574) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355452)

First Post is *always* redundant. Slashdot has a fairly good record of not posting duplicate storys, but in this case they slipped up. Big deal.

Re:My Hero (0, Offtopic)

xscarecrowx (118632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355465)

no a fairly good record would be once every 2-3 months not 2-3 times a week

WHORE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355611)

Slashdot has a fairly good record of not posting duplicate storys

And I guess you have a pretty pathetic good record of being a karma whore.

Re:My Hero (5, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355382)

Clive Thompson has been shopping this story around. The two-parter in the Toronto Star [] was billed as "SPECIAL TO THE STAR". Special reformating of the same article as far as I can tell.

I'm always skeptical of stories like this. Everytime there was a story where I knew the people and facts directly, the story was usually a mish-mash mixed or invented to sex up the story.

Embellishment (5, Interesting)

`Sean (15328) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355464)

I'm always skeptical of stories like this. Everytime there was a story where I knew the people and facts directly, the story was usually a mish-mash mixed or invented to sex up the story.

That's usually the case with any subject! Every movie, documentary, or article that I've seen or read and have had personal experience with has been a load of bunk. I've been interviewed for numerous newspaper and magazine articles and they very rarely use any of my quotes in context. They'll usually intentionally remove the context to twist words to mean whatever agenda they're trying to push.

My personal experiences with the media have basically ruined my ability to enjoy anything anymore. Since I know for a fact that virtually every story I've contributed to has been embellished by the authors to increase its entertainment value, I assume that any story that's been done about a subject I'm not personally familiar with has been tainted as well. And, most of the time, I'm correct. A simple five minute Google or encyclopedic search on the subject gives me more accurate data than the story that I'm following up on.

Re:Embellishment (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355560)

Allow me my rose coloured glasses. I might suspect that all news stories are equally flawed, but it's only the "teenage haxor angst" ones that I know are flawed. :^)

News stories are definitely like sausages and laws--never ever watch any of them being made.

Re:My Hero (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355416)

How about this:

Every time an editor posts a duplicate story he gets a public beating with a razorwire bat. The beatings are recorded to Windows Media Player files and made available for download every Friday night.

Re:My Hero (5, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355453)

Worst of it is that this in The Observer, a British Sunday newspaper that hasn't had any credibility in the tech community since the infamous "Peddlars of Paedophile Porn" episode back in '97.

For those who missed it: That paper printed photographs on its front page of the chairman of a large British ISP and the owner of a famous anonymous remailer in Finland that was the target of a campaign by the Scientologists, under the above headline. Their logic? For the former individual: there's paedophile porn on the Internet, so if you're running an ISP you must be selling such pornography. Kind of like the Queen is a child pornographer, after all she was head of the Royal Mail at the time (Britain's post office), and child porn often gets sent by mail...

The allegation against the anonymous remailer was, in many ways, even worse. The service was free and had been crippled so it couldn't be used to send binaries in any practical way, so in no sense could he have been described as "peddling" that kind of material. The allegation came at a time when the service - used by a variety of groups from abuse victims who wanted to discuss issues anonymously on Usenet to Amnesty International and dissidents who needed privacy - badly needed help as the CoS had various lawsuits against it citing copyright infringement. Attackers of the CoS had used the service to publish, anonymously, various CoS tracts. The service shut down one week after the Observer article was published.

The Observer ran this campaign for two weeks and finally went silent over it, never issuing an public apology or a retraction. During this time Britain's fledgling Internet community went, to put it mildly, pretty much ape-shit.

For me it was a bit of an epithany, I suspect it was for many others too, as it demonstrated how low the press can get when they're trying to get readers. This wasn't some third rate tabloid, it was a newspaper famous for its supposed high-minded liberalism and commitment to truth - it was an article in The Observer that lead to the founding of Amnesty International, another that lead to Britain's withdrawl from Suez.

Do I take seriously an article published in it about virus writers? You bet I don't. I don't think anyone in their right mind can take that newspaper seriously.

Re:My Hero (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355457)

WTF, at least post a link that bypasses the registration bullshit..

Well, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355600)

they certainly don't mind to cover biased crap [] and crappy FUD [] .

Hmmm (0)

rholliday (754515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355319)

I've never understood the joy in writing viruses and wreaking havoc.

Re:Hmmm (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355364)

Then you do not work at MS huh?

Re:Hmmm (3, Interesting)

skifreak87 (532830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355396)

To play Devil's Advocate isn't there something good arising from virus writers? If there were no major viruses out there, I guarantee you most users wouldn't have anti-virus software and wouldn't know not to click on email attachments from unknown sources. Then, if someone really did want to cause major havoc, it would be even worse than it is now. I don't know if this is true, but I think it's possible. If no one ever expected a virus/worm, how long would it take to actually get the virus/worm off of every user's computer. It's rather quick now because most people have anti-virus software that can be updated really quickly.

Re:Hmmm (4, Insightful)

__past__ (542467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355443)

If nobody would write viruses, nobody would need virus scanners.

Not to mention that people do not understand that they should not run arbitrary email attachments. Every few weeks we have a major worm outbreak because millions of people happily run every piece of malicious code they find.

As for "real" worms that don't require a collaborative user to spread, it can hardly get worse than it is now, with all the knowledge and awareness we have. The really ugly ones spread in minutes, faster than anyone can react. (Also, they never seem to die, Nimda for example is still active.)

Re:Hmmm (1)

rholliday (754515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355455)

As someone else pointed out, we wouldn't need the virus protection without the viruses. Also, I don't know if you've caught the numbers for each major "11:00 News" virus attack, but people aren't really learning their lesson this way. Sad but true.

Re:Hmmm (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355471)

Yep, same with murderers. If there weren't any murders people wouldn't be as prepared to defend themselves, and they'd be more vulnerable to any murderers that came along.

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355404)

I guess it's the same joy some brainless, euh, "people" get from beating up weaker people or defenseless animals. Or vandalising someones car or something.
There's no risk in it and they get to feel so tough. Those people simply need a proverbial kick in the ass.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355489)

What? Shut up. Yes, you can understand the joy in writing viruses and wreaking havoc.

I hate when people say, "Oh, I don't understand why people like blah blah blah," but what's to not understand? Some people like to see something they make spread like wildfire and hit the media.

What's not to understand?

Re:Hmmm (1)

rholliday (754515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355541)

Pardon me. I suppose I should have said I can't empathize with them.

GNAA FP! LORF!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355320)

StarManta [] is a fag [] .

Constipation - the enemy within (-1)

(TK15)Dessimat0r (736364) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355322)

H is for the HONOUR of serving Nazi Germany
I is for the INTERESTING Jew killing
T is for the TERRIFIC leadership style
L is for the LOVE of my leader
E is for the ENTHUSIASM of when I go to battle
R is for the RAPE of women, and how much I enjoy it

Hitler really is the finest ruler

Trollkore - I hate you, I hate your country, and I hate your face.

hey isn't this a dupe? (-1, Redundant)

nietsch (112711) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355324)

I read about this before. Or is some smart journalist sharing his research?

Re:hey isn't this a dupe? (-1, Redundant)

joe52 (74496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355346)

Yes, it's a dupe. The article appears to be the same as the one that the New York Times Magazine ran several weeks ago. That one was posted to Slashdot on February 9th: l?tid=126&tid=172&tid=185&tid=190&tid= 201 []

It's the fucking USERS, not VIRUS WRITERS' fault! (0, Insightful)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355329)

Guys like me warned anyone who would listen. Most operating systems in use today by home PC users are utter crap. I always love speaking about computer security because it's just so fucking important.

But I can't help but feel helpless. Virus writers will get bored again and write another killer virus. These fucking viruses can easily invade Windows PCs and then use them to attack other machines. I don't blame the virus writers -- it's just a hobby. I blame people who LOAD the viruses!

We need firewall education. We need anti-virus education. We need fucking stricter email controls.

I hate myself for saying this, but let's stop being so fucking naive. Windows is a security nightmare and it practically invites viruses in. But most people use Windows, even though there are two families of computers that are much safer -- Apple's OS 10 and the many types of Linux machines. Microsoft has a grip on the PC market by the balls that even the government can't shake loose, and so, like the family that's stuck with an unwanted brother-in-law, we're stuck with Microsoft's Windows and its many frailties.

So stop blaming the virus writers. It's not their fault. It's YOUR fault. By that I mean your friends and family and co-workers need to be education -- and by YOU if no one else will do it. Tell them Windows is a piece of fucking shit, but also SHOW THEM how to avoid viruses. You can't just talk crap and then do nothing. It's more effective to suggest alternatives and best-practices(TM).

Computer security is in a poor state of affairs, but (relative) geniuses like us can help things. We really can. Just put Linux down for a fucking second (yes, it's better than Windows) and show your mom how to avoid catching viruses.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355343)

If we just educated people better, viruses/diseases wouldn't be a problem.

Works the same way for AIDS as it does W32.Klez.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355402)

I've tried. People are so fucking ignorant.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355406)

Isn't it amazing! Everytime Amsterdam Vallon posts, two minutes later some AC posts a "MOD PARENT +1 INSIGHTFUL" add-on. It's uncanny!

Re:MOD PARENT +1 INSIGHTFUL (3, Interesting)

nutznboltz (473437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355486)

If we just educated people better, viruses/diseases wouldn't be a problem. Works the same way for AIDS as it does W32.Klez.
Now that's sarcasm at its finest. Over 20 years with the same human virus and the problem just keeps getting worse. I doubt people are getting less educated about it over time.

It appears to me that overcoming human nature requires more than education.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355351)

I hate the smell of karmawhores in the morning.

Re:It's the fucking USERS, not VIRUS WRITERS' faul (4, Insightful)

rholliday (754515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355395)

Yes, users bear some responsibility for viruses' spread. Yes, I'm all for education of users. I work in tech support, believe me I'd love more educated users. Usually, I'm the one giving the basic lessons in the difference between a hard disk and a CD-ROM drive.
But the lion's share of the blame has to rest on the virus writers' collective shoulders. The vast majority have no pretensions of "educating the masses," or "simple curiosity." No, most of them just want to either a) screw people over for the hell of it, or b) get their (hopefully anonymous) 15 minutes of fame. These are the same types of people who will eventually be hired to write adware, spyware, and spamming apps. They are not heros. They are not admirable. They are degenerates and sociopaths, and they gives nerds and hackers horrible images with the very same "stupid users" that we have to interact with (and often get paid by) every day of our lives.

Re:It's the fucking USERS, not VIRUS WRITERS' faul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355507)

Hey, wouldn't you rather write spamware, adware or whatnot for profit than be out of a job cause your last one was offshored? I sure as hell would. I'd still prefer writing Unix server code, but hey, these are hard times and you take what you can get...

Another interesting viewpoint... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355333)

Ted and David made their way into the lab where the animal experiments were conducted. A cute, fuzzy penguin had caught their eye... The evil duo quickly subdued the little lab penguin. They strapped the now helpless animal's head to the sex table with hot leather. David had they urge, and removed his pants, which were now buldging. After slipping off his briefs, David tightly fastened the leather straps and was ready to begin....... David began to "grease up". Shoving endless amounts of vaseline and baby oil all around the penguin's ass, he slid his purple head firmly into the penguin's tight asshole. Even though the penguin was slightly unconscious, screams of pain were constanly being emmited. Ted reached for the chain whip and smacked the penguin's soft nose until its face was soaked with blood. Now, with the penguins head drooped over the edge of the table, David continued his sex hunt. His now tingling cock was pushed deeper and deeper through the thick layers of skin which covered the bowel tract. Five, six, seven, then finally all eight and 3/4 inches were plunged deep within the animal's love canal. David's manhood tingled with every slight movement of the now half alive penguin. He began rhythmically sliding in and out, moaning with pleasure on every thrust. David worked himself into a hot orgasm. The blood, now coming steadily out of the penguin's ass with every thrust of David's pelvis, could be heard dripping on the floor. David's rate increased and with a final push, he spurted creamy white love gel far up into the penguin's bleeding ass. The blood and cum mixed together on the floor, which had now accumulated a large puddle. Unknown to David, the semen had acted as a powerful enemma for the penguin and out ushered the contents of its intestine. The stool was loose and soft. It fell to the ground with a soft thud and broke into small pieces. The obnoxious smell caught David's attention, and no sooner had he fallen to the ground and began licking the large puddle of blood, sperm, and stool. Exited at David's enthusiasm, Ted dropped to his knees and also began to slurp the foul mixture. After cleaning the floor with their tongues, David and Ted checked on the battered lab penguin. It was barely able to hold its head up, as it had lost control of most of its motor fuctions. Feeling no pity for this sexually mistreated animal, they unstrapped it and tossed it across the room, only to make a loud and deep thud against the wall. Its blood soaked fur left spatters of red stains everywhere it touched. Ted reached for his chain whip, while David grabbed a pair of rusty hedge clippers (one of the many torture devices carried around for "convenience"). They made their way over to the penguin. The penguin was struggling for every last bit of air it could, just gasping and wheezing. "Awwwww. Poor little thing," Ted maniacally laughed. He raised his arm and thrust the cold metal whip down, exposing the penguin's bloody flesh. He kept whacking and whacking at the furry bag of blood. Then, when Ted stopped to catch his breath, David stepped over with his rusty hedge clippers. He knelt over the penguin who was knocking loudly on death's door. David took a quick glance at the clippers, grinned, and then thrust them deep into the body of the penguin, obviously hitting many arteries. As the blood squirted into David's face he moved the clippers around in hopes to find a thick bone to crunch. "Aha! The femur!" he yelled out with excitement. David wedged the clippers against the bone. He opened them wide......then closed down on them with all his might. The bone could be heard deep inside the penguin, being mutilated. Death had glazed the bunny's eyes. The penguin lay dead, a bloody mess on the floor. Its bodily fluids freely surged across the tiled floor. Then with a look of extreme satisfaction, both David and Ted lit up some smokes, gathered their belongings and quietly left the hospital ground

Virus Writers (5, Insightful)

ThisNukes4u (752508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355345)

Virus writers, while technically skilled, are complete dumb butts for using their skills in ways that are harmful to society and businesses, even if it's not their fault that it is easy to do thanks to Microsoft. They'd be better off using their skills for something more productive.

Re:Virus Writers (5, Insightful)

flatt (513465) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355370)

I doubt you'll get much opposition to your point but are you going to pay them? It's the same reason kids get involved in gangs and whatnot: boredom and lack of belonging/recognition.

Easy problem to find, harder problem to solve.

Re:Virus Writers (5, Interesting)

gustgr (695173) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355394)

I don't belive they are completelly skilled. I would pay to see one of these VB virus writers to build an application which can improve our OS's or Networks.

Like the elders say it takes 10 years to a three grow but only 10 minutos to take it down. It's the same with computer virus.

Re:Virus Writers (3, Insightful)

tommck (69750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355424)

Did you see the jobs they have? assistant in a home for the disabled?
There aren't that many high tech jobs in eastern Europe. I know a guy who moved to the US from Bulgaria and he said that all his friends were bored with life and wrote viruses for fun. Nobody there would hire them to do tech work.

Ironically, now that outsourcing is targetting Eastern Europe, one of your problems (viruses, etc) might be subdued a bit (a bit!) by one of our other problems (jobs leaving the country). Of course, people elsewhere will always be around to write them.

Re:Virus Writers (4, Insightful)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355479)

These aren't virus writers, these are just regular script kiddies. Nothing interesting.

Society and business are good? (0, Flamebait)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355488)

You're assuming they see society and businesses as good things. Americans, five percent of the world's population consume a third of the world's resources. I mean, you define yourselves as consumers, plagues of locusts do little but consume and replicate. Maybe these guys are the good guys and you're the bad guy for supporting a parasitic society.

Pentagons Warns of World Chaos and Nuclear War (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355352)

Courtesy of
The Guardian []

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday February 22, 2004

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.

A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.

One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.

Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.

'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'

So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.

The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.

Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'

Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.

Kilgore Trout

great quote on microsoft (0, Troll)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355357)

"a dangerous thinning of the internet's gene pool" well i guess that sums it up pretty well about microsoft. Using microsoft is like inbreading.

endbreeding (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355372)

End - Breeding

It's where the family tree doesn't spread out,
but the ends of the branches meet up.

Deftones aren't a punk band (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355367)

And the technical side of the article is a pile of shit as well. Virii don't "reprogram parts of your computer". Script kiddies generally don't download virii, but trojan clients.

Re:Deftones aren't a punk band (1)

rjshields (719665) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355490)

What the heck are virii? The plural of virus [] is viruses.

Re:Deftones aren't a punk band (1)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355591)

And the technical side of the article is a pile of shit as well. Virii don't "reprogram parts of your computer". Script kiddies generally don't download virii, but trojan clients.

Generally speaking, you're right. But a sophisticated virus could patch or alter existing software on your computer if it wanted. A lot of virus' (virii, whatever) do just tack themselves onto the end of existing files, which could be considered reprogramming. By and large I agree with you - it's not remotely as clever as reprogramming. It's just a little script or something that relies on someone running it.

In as much as it is an "art", it's been rather simplified these days. Outlook Express makes it far too easy for someone to create a tiny worm that replicates millions of times. It's not like it used to be when it really required some skill, or you had to rely on the damn things getting moved around on floppy disks and stuff.

Man, what an incoherent post. You're right about the Deftones too.

"from the dept." (5, Funny)

PollGuy (707987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355374)

Think that's code for "From the >/dev/null dept."?

Anyone seen a good written virus? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355378)

Whenever I disassembled viruses or worms, I had to scream. Even in the good old DOS-times and even with bootsector viruses, where size was an important factor, they were simply horrible written. (i.e. unnecassary bloated)

While some may imply in their posts, that virus writers are technically skilled, I've yet to see a single example of beeing better than the avarage bad programmer...

Anyone ever seen well written english? (0, Offtopic)

tommck (69750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355430)

Geez. they're galled adverbs...
"horrible written" -> "horribly written"
"good written" -> "well written"
"unecessary [sic] bloated" -> "unnecessarily bloated"

Re:Anyone ever seen well written english? (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355456)

Geez. they're galled adverbs

What does a part of the liver have to do with being a spelling/grammar nazi? I assume it's not a typographical error.

Re:Anyone ever seen well written english? (5, Funny)

Shisha (145964) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355553)

Oh dear, this thread really exposes the state of the Slashdot community: Grand-grandparent can't use adverbs properly, grandparent makes a typo, while correcting someone's grammer and finally the parent:

I assume it's not a typographical error.

shows that he has little clue about the fact, that typography is about designing thing containg text in such a way, that makes them aesthetically pleasing.

The question now is, of course, what have I screwed up? :-)

Re:Anyone ever seen well written english? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355573)

The question now is, of course, what have I screwed up? :-)

while correcting someone's grammer

That's "grammar."

Re:Anyone ever seen well written english? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355583)


Re:Anyone seen a good written virus? (0, Interesting)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355536)

Yes, I've seen good written virus. Back in the good old Amiga days, there were several viruses with codemorphing etc.

The enemy within ? (0, Flamebait)

andy666 (666062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355380)

Maybe you like to think that guy is "in" you, but believe me he is not in me, and never will be!!

Complete Bullshit (5, Interesting)

ktanmay (710168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355381)

It's not like I don't have appreciation for the fine arts, but this is taking it too far, it is almost to the extent of patronizing virus writers.

Ok fine, what if someday, a student doing research in microbiology decides, just for the sake or fine arts, I'll release a mutant plague bacteria...

Re:Complete Bullshit (4, Funny)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355466)

If that mutant strain of bacteria turned people into random primary colors, I'd be all for it for arts sake..

Re:Complete Bullshit (1)

ktanmay (710168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355514)

Well, it's plague, so I'm sure the buboes will be plenty colourfull...

idiot loosers (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355383)

I guess my initial reaction was fsck 'em. Fsck 'em all. However, it could be suggested that they have made corporations and governments aware of many intrinsic insecurities in certain popular operating systems which may have prevented some larger potential catastrophe. The problem for these guys, is that we will never know and they will continue to be reviled and hated as losers. (That is unless they are talented enough to score a job with Symantec, the NSA or some other organization dealing with comp. security.)

(karma whoring is nice?)

Dupe, or no dupe... (5, Insightful)

nordicfrost (118437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355384)

With quotes like this: 'This guy,' he proclaimed, 'is the best at Visual Basic.' I really understand the level of these guys... Show me an 1 k, auto-replicating, ASM-written worm spreading like the lightening through an undocumented hole and I'll be impressed. These are nothing more than wannebe punks.

Re:Dupe, or no dupe... (1, Insightful)

tommck (69750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355438)

Mod me Troll or Flamebait, but:

Hell. I laugh about that when someone says that in the office right here in the US! :) VB is, was and always shall be a big steaming pile of shit for a language.

Re:Dupe, or no dupe... (1)

kieranbenton (642814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355531)

What are most virus' written in anyway? I'd always assumed they'd been in C or something else suitably low-level. Is it possible to tell from dissasembly? Huh, VB! I'm sorry but:
'This guy,' he proclaimed, 'is the best at Visual Basic.'
I cant believe that the article writer is talking anyone serious.

Re:Dupe, or no dupe... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355532)

Will a 372 bytes, self-replicating worm, affecting an, until then, unknown vulnerability on the MS SQL Server do the trick? By the way, this little devil was called "Slammer"

CmdrTaco 's on the march! (2, Redundant)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355389)

Nothing like two [] consecutive dupes [] to start a Sunday!

And here I was, with my coffee and breakfast all ready to read /. till lunch :(

Next story please!

Just an idea! (4, Interesting)

HaRR0 (755365) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355390)

Maybe if the government or anti virus companys made like an online virtual internet for young people to upload there virus into this "virtual internet" to watch it spread and make a game like point scheme or something along the lines there wouldnt be much havoc online , I think it is mostly boredom that virus creaters do this for!

Re:Just an idea! (2, Insightful)

rholliday (754515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355506)

I think the government's time and money would be best spent elsewhere. That would be a major, and largely pointless, undertaking. And even if for some godawful reason a "virtual internet" was created to be the punishment-free testbed for young virus writers, with their egos, they would never be satisfied until they got on the "real" internet and messed with "real" people.

Once twice thrice... (3, Funny)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355397)

First time from wired... it's a story.

Second time on NYT... it's a dupe.

Third time on the observer... it's a trupe?

-Colin []

Re:Once twice thrice... (1)

cperciva (102828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355420)

Third time on the observer... it's a trupe?

The correct abbreviation for "triplicate" would be "trip". Which is also short for a possible explanation for such reposts...

Re:Once twice thrice... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355429)

I'm going to go with calling it a "tripe". That's an apt description in this case.

cash money (4, Funny)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355419)

Boy, I'd love to be the author of that article. He just keeps making money selling it over and over again. In addition the paper's owners must take note of his name when it draws a metric herd of slashdotters.

::Walks off to write an article about virii::

-Colin []

Re:cash money (1)

antime (739998) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355492)

Walks off to write an article about virii

There are no such things [] .

Wreck MY computer? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355431)

Sorry, no, all my computers run Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X.

I wish that, just for once, articles aimed at the public would be a little more accurate."

"He's 21, he's got dreadlocks, likes punk bands... and if you use Microsoft software, his hobby could wreck your computer in seconds"

Re:Wreck MY computer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355454)

they meant "your friend's computer"

Re:Wreck MY computer? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355504)

they meant "your friend's computer"

like I said, I spend my time running Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X. You think I'd do that if I had friends?

moron public enemIE # won/the billyonerrors' bawl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355432)

that would be the felonious payper liesense softwar gangster stock markup fraud hostage ransom execrable aka unprecedented evile et AL. there is is butt won ?cure? for it?

consult with/trust in yOUR creators.... get ready to see the light.

From the all-mouth-and-no-meat department (5, Interesting)

tagishsimon (175038) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355439)

Umm. Slight absence of any mention of virus writing for profit: there's enough evidence that a number of recent virii were mainly about installing SMTP Relays on infected machines to propogate spam, or leaving a backdoor open so that this could later be done.

Or else installing DDOS software aimed at Spamhaus servers, or leaving backdoors open for same.

So. Art: Check. Vandalism: Check. Profit Motive: Check. Insubstantial "infiltration" by journalist: Check.

Ferinstance 23258&mode=nested []

- Oops. There goes Spamhaus []

- most of this week's crop install backdoors. 51056136 []

- Your IP Addy for sale to a spam-merchant near you...

Terrorism (3, Interesting)

octal666 (668007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355442)

Well, actually terrorism is using threats and violence to force someone to think or behave as you want.

Common virus-writers are more like random violence, they do not use to pursue economical or political agendas, more usually want recognition inside their own community.

I, for one, am fed up with this ciber-terrorists media propaganda.

Here's the secret answer! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355450)

Stop clicking on email attachments and the problem almost completely goes away.

Virus writers prey on the stupid. Harsh, but absolutely true.

Re:Here's the secret answer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355601)

Viruses existed so long before e-mail bornes viruses that it was received wisdom that you couldn't get a virus over e-mail.

Distributing binaries over e-mail has really had its day, but I refuse to go along with the masses who believe being able to do so is a bug not a feature.

Old Timer

OT: Punk? (4, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355451)

Since when is Iron Maden considered punk? Geesh, pansy...

Re:OT: Punk? (1)

Operating Thetan (754308) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355584)

Real men listen to Good Charlotte. And Blink 182

Nice guy (4, Funny)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355460)

'Anyone can rewrite a hard drive with one or two lines of code,' he says. 'It makes no sense. It's really lame.' Besides which, it's mean, he says, and he likes to be friendly.

Then come over and install your friendly little programs on my PC. You can do so for free! No more annoying "distribution" anymore, you just come here, install your friendly little program and leave*, that is all. Sounds like a deal? Tell me in advance, because I might need to buy some essentials** for your visit.

* Might or might not involve a hearse.
** Like a toe tag and body bag.

Re:Nice guy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355594)

Oh, grow up. There is nothing like the geek patrol getting all bent out of shape over something as trifling as spam and kiddies.

They're kids. Not exactly a lifetime to develope good judgement. Never did anything a little evil as a child? Always a good upstanding citizen?

I go through all of the email and virii hassels as everyone else... Might as well bitch about having to lock your doors anymore.

You're taking your computer much too seriously.

... and his homepage ... (5, Informative)

bdejong (312792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355467) []

- bram

Article Was Lifted Directly From NY Times (4, Informative)

tealover (187148) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355505)

Here's a link [] to the first paragraph.

Is this a copyright violation ?

Re:Article Was Lifted Directly From NY Times (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355535)

Speaking of jumping the conclusions, try this link [] to the "Special to the Toronto Star" story. I think it's called the author of the story milking the market for everything he can get. And it brings to mind the famous line that P.T. Barnum never said.

cannot kick-start? (5, Insightful)

bo0ork (698470) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355519)

"A virus cannot kick-start itself; a human needs to be fooled into clicking on it."
What, the author never heard of floppy disks, autostart.ini or malformed html?

Just like to say... (1)

Mindcry (596198) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355544)

way to name names in the article.. quick google search on them and you only get about 40000 worthwhile virus writing sites.... well, at least as worth while as they could possibly be i suppose.

guess they were just dying for the publicity...
I did find it funny how those guys were so hep to VB, i mean, i know its like totally sweet and stuff, but jeez, you'd think one of them had just like totally flipped out and killed somebody, for no reason, just because...

Second Part to Hell (3, Funny)

rjshields (719665) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355546)

When Mario is bored, he likes to sit at his laptop and create computer viruses and worms. Online, he goes by the name Second Part to Hell.

I suggest a new handle for Mario - Two Sandwiches Short of a Picnic

Hacks are art. (2, Insightful)

Cybrr (535845) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355554)

Cracks are not.

It's easier to destroy than to create.

Writing poor articles for fun and profit (1)

breakinbearx (672220) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355561)

On the whole, a very interesting article on a social level. But on the technical level? complete BS. mpegs infecting computers? Although I suppose it could be done, not by the kinds of programers the author is talking about. Some of these sites should hire /.ers as editors. It'd help keep articles accurate from a technical point of view, and keep readers informed correctly.

(and maybe people would point out that Iron Maiden isn't punk.)

Re:Writing poor articles for fun and profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8355597)

RTFA. The first paragraph refers to the second guy. They're saying the Deftones are punk

Viruses serve a purpose (1, Interesting)

CrypticSpawn (719164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355590)

Lets face it, without viruses alot of the flaws in our operating systems would still be open today, then hackers would have free reign into your system without your knowledge. More and more people wouldn't be using firewalls, more people wouldn't be using anti-virus software. Lets face it, the internet is still very fragile, remember way back in 1988 when one worm took down the internet, that can still happen today sad to say, but we are more knowledgible of how viruses use our software to do moreso now than anytime before. Microsoft is trying to change to that operating system where everything has to use their new .NET infrastructure so security will be tigher, not just in their operating system, but also in the applications third parties write. However, I know from past experience with Microsoft, they will end up trying to be backwards compatible and end up inheriting all those problems from before. But perhaps this time they will use their new purchase of Virtual PC to implement those backward compatibility environments totally away from their new operating system. But somehow I think Microsoft will end up even implementing that badly, because they want to give their users so much ease of use and cool features they end up shooting themselves in the foot, allowing people to use their own gullibility to weaking Microsoft's operating system. This same thing can be said about alot of operating systems out there trying to mimic them to some degree.

I knew there was a reason I read the Observer. (1, Troll)

Denyer (717613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355599)

Pretty decent reporting for a newspaper. And I love this quote:

Microsoft markets its products to less expert computer users, cultivating the sort of gullible victims who click on disguised virus attachments.

Woefully accurate, if the users I've admin'd for are anything to go by. We need to encourage people to think about what they do when they use computers, not oversimplify.

Ben Laden to (-1, Offtopic)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 10 years ago | (#8355608)

I'm sure Ben Laden sees his work as art to.
gtf up.
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