Not a lot of news - probably bogging down with the holidays next week. Rogue sysadmin story of the day.
Mr. Duronio earned $175,000 as a computer systems administrator in PaineWebber's office in Weehawken, law enforcement officials said, but the indictment said he thought he should be paid more. Before leaving the company on Feb. 22, he designed and transmitted the disruptive virus, the indictment charges.
Don't try this at home
There's no need for vigilante hacking. In this case, it might have backfired.
But some said the Minnesota man's actions, like those of other patriotic hackers, could hinder rather than help the U.S. government's war on terrorism.
Backdoors in code
Business Week discusses the perils of Ptech - a company recently investigated by the FBI. A very relevant read.
The likelihood of back doors inserted somewhere for spying purposes will only grow as the U.S., Israel, China, India, and a host of other countries both friend and foe expand their digital information-warfare operations. These operations aim to exploit technological weakness of opponents to gain military or economic advantage, and might include hacking into secret systems or economic espionage. "Any sort of vulnerability that has been implanted purposely in software can be exploited by a foreign adversary with very broad and potentially significant consequences," says Michael Vatis, the head of Information Security Technology Studies at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.
A happy ending
Sometimes a virus can be a good thing.
Which set me up for the Gift of Virus. Whoever designed that craftily proper-English, simple and yet customized teaser message, my hat is off to you. Within five hours I had been re-contacted by a dozen former friends and acquaintances I would probably never have spoken to again but was thrilled to hear from.
Cnet has a piece on privacy up - translucent databases, crypto and anonymity all discussed in response to TIA.
Tracking a scammer
An interesting story I caught on Slashdot last week. The tale of a student who hunted down a guy scamming several people on eBay.
The next morning I checked my auction, a couple of bids placed, and so the buy-it-now option was gone. Checking my email I got a couple of questions about the computer and much to my surprise, an offer to buy it for $2900 from Steve Matthews, a dad with a lucky son in college who was going to be getting a Powerbook for his birthday. Steve wanted to pay for it COD, no problem, its actually how I usually sell things. I called him on the phone number he gave me to ask a couple of questions and make sure everything was on the up and up.
The head of the government's Total Information Awareness project, which aims to root out potential terrorists by aggregating credit-card, travel, medical, school and other records of everyone in the United States, has himself become a target of personal data profiling.
WSJ on the digital jihad
Good piece, take a look if you can, a few snippets below.
The jihad might have fizzled on account of bad planning or incompetent hackers. But there's another explanation: It failed because the electronic infrastructure around us is a lot stronger than it's currently being given credit for by tech companies in search of terrorism-related windfalls.