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Criminals Target Tech Students With Job Offers 121

Posted by Zonk
from the not-the-best-prospect dept.
An anonymous reader writes "BBC News is running a story on criminal gangs targeting tech students. Some of these outfits offer to pay for an education in exchange for the student's employment on graduation in criminal hacking activities." From the article: " As the number of criminal gangs looking to move into cyber crime expanded, it got harder to recruit skilled hackers, said Mr Day. This has led criminals to target university students all around the world. 'Some students are being sponsored through their IT degree,' said Mr Day. Once qualified, the graduates go to work for the criminal gangs. As well as the direct route of targeting students, some organised crime gangs were trading on the glamour surrounding the 'hacker' label to help them recruit impressionable youngsters..."
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Criminals Target Tech Students With Job Offers

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  • surprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xolom (989077) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:20AM (#17171170)
    it's a better job offer than the other offers most kids are going to get, and it appeals to their interests... why are people surprised?
    • by svunt (916464) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:27AM (#17171212) Homepage Journal
      I'm currently doing an IT internship for the Gambino family. The pay is good, I get medical & dental, and if anyone mods me down, they'll find out about some of the other perks of working in the industry.
    • Re:surprised? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ScentCone (795499) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:41AM (#17171274)
      it's a better job offer than the other offers most kids are going to get, and it appeals to their interests... why are people surprised?

      Um... for the same reason people might be surprised if non-crazy students who spend their years in college studying chemistry would look for "sponsorship" from a group that tells them they'll be building suitcase bombs for terrorists? Or an engineering/architecture student that's told they'll get a free ride through college as along as they agree to help break into banks once they graduate? This isn't any different.
      • Re:surprised? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot&castlesteelstone,us> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:24AM (#17172006) Homepage Journal
        This isn't any different.

        It's significantly different. One is treason, another is abandoning a lucrative private enterprise for crime, and the third is a resort of despiration for those with few prosepcts.

        The morality, ethics, and legal response to each of these is different. You might as well claim that vehicular manslaughter and driving with a cell phone "aren't any different."
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by russ1337 (938915)
          Funny that you mention ethics. I remember a class a few years ago, we tried to determine what set a 'Profession' different from a 'job'. Eventually we settled on something along the lines 'that a professional has a code of ethics'.e.g Doctors, engineers, lawyers (ok, yeah ok i know - stick with me)..

          I dont recall IT professionals having a code of ethics. If BSC/SE graduates swore to uphold a code of ethics, it may weed out a few of the more 'innocent' people that would take up this offer. Of course it
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by spikedvodka (188722)
            While it may not qaulify as a mandetory code of ethics, I'd encourage you to read the SAGE System Administrator's Code of Ethics
            We as professional System Administrators do hereby commit ourselves to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct, and agree to be guided by this code of ethics, and encourage every System Administrator to do the same.
            Professionalism

            * I will maintain professional conduct in the workplace and will not allow personal feelings or beliefs to
            • "Professionalism"

              "I will maintain professional" - Doh!

              "Professionalism"

              "I will maintain professional" - Doh!

              "Professionalism"

              "I will maintain professional" - Doh!

              "Professionalism"

              "I will maintain professional" - Doh!

              Stupid "professionalism", take that, argg, and that, ugff,....
            • by dr_dank (472072)
              Wow, looks like somebody at that group read the BOFH stories before drafting these guidelines...
    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Exactly so! Besides, how many hackers do the two major criminal organizations in the US hire (i.e., the Pentagon and the Blackstone Group)? And it sure beats offshoring....
  • Sweet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by presidentbeef (779674) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:20AM (#17171172) Homepage Journal
    Does this mean that legitimate companies, to keep up, will have to do the same thing?
    Maybe they could even get into bidding wars over potential students/employees! This could only be a good thing...right?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by phatvw (996438)
      Haven't folks like Peter Norton (Symantec) been doing this for years? Recruiting kids to write worms and viruses so they can sell their shitty "Utilities" and Virus scanning suites to big business? ;)
    • At least I hope not.

      It will probably become a felony to accept funding from such groups first (if it already isn't) since its somewhat similar to bribery. Simply because if this were to spread to other professions, the impact could potentially be much worse (and could result in having a government like some third world countries where since the mafia is willing to pay more, the whole government is corrupt).

      • Re:Not likely... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by presidentbeef (779674) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:58AM (#17171342) Homepage Journal
        I kind of see your point...but doesn't the military already do this? They offer to pay for college, you agree to serve for 6 years or whatever. Does it make a difference if it's a private company?
        I know that some companies will help pay for your education if you agree to continue working for them for a certain amount of time after your education is complete. It's not so different, right? This is just getting them younger.

        Of course, my original comment was more of a joke :)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Marnhinn (310256)
          True, but only to an extent.

          Many companies offer benefits in return for service (as you mention), the difference isn't in really in what the companies offer, it's in what they do.

          If we just looked at offers - then there is not much difference between a lobbyist giving a politician large sums of money and someone donating to charity. Both are giving money away right? But the law looks at more than action - it looks at intent (thankfully). Which means that accepting money from a criminal enterprise is very
        • I think the difference is that you're unlikely to get blown up to pieces or spend the rest of your life paralyzed while doing hacking jobs for a shady group.
        • by gatesvp (957062)

          Actually, the military route may be even better for a hacker. You get computer training on some advanced tech and you get weapons and other military training.

          Organized crime is always looking for ex-cops and ex-military. These guys already know basic tricks of the trade, they know how to use guns, they may have first aid (or better) medical training. They may have covert ops training and if they're really smart and computer-trained, they'll probably have a good handle on military-grade gear as well.

          So i

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Uh... Bribery is not illegal. There are certain types of bribes that are illegal, but much like being a monopoly, it is not inherently illegal. You know, if I offer may local mayor a new car in exchange rezoning some land I own, it's a crime. If I offer my son a new car in exchange for mowing the lawn, I may be a crappy parent, but I certainly have not committed a crime.
        • by Rix (54095)
          You're confused about the definition of bribe.
        • If you give the mayor $25,000 for his reelection commitee it's also legal.
          If you give the mayor $25,000 with the understanding that he'll give you a zoning variance, it's illegal.
          If you give the mayor $25,000 with no understanding he gives you a zoning variance, it's legal.

          • Grr... 3 little letters.

            If you give the mayor $25,000 with no understanding AND he gives you a zoning variance, it's legal.
          • If you give the mayor $25,000 and he understands what a zoning variance is, it's a good value for the money.
            If you give the mayor $25,000 and he doesn't understand what a zoning variance is, it's a bad value for the money.
            If you give the mayor $25,000 and neither of you understand what a zoning variance is, then it's your fault for not giving your money to a better candidate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by neoform (551705)
      Not if the companies are employing black hat hackers to take down their competition.. (i worked shortly for such a company, quit out of disgust).
  • Sonny: Hey, whaddya gonna do, nice college boy, eh?

    Hack, that's what!
  • interesting... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    how do i sign up?
  • by Mikachu (972457) <jjburke AT hunter DOT cuny DOT edu> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:26AM (#17171206) Homepage
    This isn't anything new really. I mean I even feel redundant saying this. Where there's commerce, there's crime. Where there's crime, there's organization. Gangs have simply moved on from convincing kids on street corners to steal some stuff into convincing kids in chatrooms to hack into some websites. It was only a matter of time.
  • that this article followed the one below. then again, i had friends who were offered support to finish medical school by the mob. kids, don't believe the hype! its not like that david duchovny movie 'playing god;, you don't always wind up with the boss's girlfriend; more often than not you wind up in the east river :)

    to top it off, the watcha-mathingy is 'murders'
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by OmniBeing (838591) *
      A close friend of mine and I were offered "work" for a criminal organization years ago when we were fresh out of high school (we developed quite a rep, did some stupid things like send all the account usernames and passwords for the district to the main laser in the library. Nobody knew who did it till a friend ratted us out. That's another story though.)

      The offer was nice, new machines and $10,000 each for a weeks work attacking ADT's system so they could stage a b&e spree.

      Scared the crap out of me, I
  • This will reassure CS students that there are jobs lined up for them after they graduate!
  • pft! (Score:5, Funny)

    by tloh (451585) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:30AM (#17171230)
    No! No! No! Any hacker with even an ounce of skill is more than capable of setting up shop on his own. What you gotta do is offer the guy something he would never EVER get legitimately. What these criminal types REALLY ought to do is come on slashdot here and promise they can arrange regular *private* meetings with our favorite adult performers from the pr0n we all download.
    • by non (130182)
      dude, i don't know about favorite, but there are many you can get; look here [exoticretreat.net]. at least one of the met-art girls is available!
    • by nettdata (88196)
      Cool... some place where "Blowjob Friday" might not just be a tale of lore...

      Where do I sign up?

  • Ahhhh, but do they offer dental? If not, they could probably manage to add you to somebody else's plan :-)
  • Hack what ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfclavette (961511) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:34AM (#17171242)
    Say what you will, hacking (cracking, don't throw a fit) isn't exactly easy nowadays. Can anyone here honestly tell me that they can get me access to a given business's clients database in the next 48 hours ? Didn't think so. So what are the gangs getting out of this ? Are they getting on a hype bandwagon ?
    • Re:Hack what ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ScentCone (795499) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:44AM (#17171288)
      Can anyone here honestly tell me that they can get me access to a given business's clients database in the next 48 hours ? Didn't think so. So what are the gangs getting out of this ? Are they getting on a hype bandwagon ?

      Getting access to a company's database is so 1990's. These days, you need smart computer science types to design better malware to create botnets so that you can practice good old fashioned extortion against Costa Rican casino web sites. Simple as that.
      • by prtsoft (702850)
        Getting access to a company's database is so 1990's Not really. Crackers still attempt to gain access to DB in search of creditcard and SS Numbers. With the proliferation of SQL injects available script kiddie can steal information from online shopping carts. Take the recent issue with mastercard and the intrusion into their customer DB. Thousands of credit card number were released. To say that it doesn't happen any more, is to, at best, be a bit naive.
        • by ScentCone (795499)
          Take the recent issue with mastercard and the intrusion into their customer DB. Thousands of credit card number were released. To say that it doesn't happen any more, is to, at best, be a bit naive.

          I don't meant to suggest it isn't happening, or isn't a target. But most of that stuff is insider badness, not 133t h@xx0rs coming in from the outside while on Jolt buzz. The malware is where all the action is - because that's how you plant keyloggers, etc., and GET inside access if you don't have an inside m
    • The types of attacks that are being carried out are not single target attacks, they are broad attacks used to secure large botnets or to retrieve sensitive information on smaller targets.

      The major breach of security events where large amounts of personal information is either pure dumb luck (enhanced by a larger drag net or malware) or the combination of social engineering, physical break in, and computer based attacks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wow, that has got to be the most clueless comments on the topic that I have ever read. No offense meant, but really, c'mon! Where have you been the last five years? Hacking hasn't only gotten a lot simpler, with all the automated tools that exist nowadays, but also become much more profitable. The increased profits are largely a result of botnets and the ease one can build one with using readily available tools and the huge number of clueless people on a broadband connection (something that also didn't real
    • by Rix (54095)
      Not a specific one, but *any* business' client database? Yes, definitely.
    • Can anyone here honestly tell me that they can get me access to a given business's clients database in the next 48 hours ?

      No, but I can get access to a given business's clents database in 48 hours plus flight time, given an appropriate plane ticket and an appropriate change of clothes.
    • by owlnation (858981)
      I would have thought that phishing and eBay / Criagslist fraud was the quickest and easiest way of making money for criminals. The tech ability for phishing doesn't need to be that high.

      What I've often wondered though is, why do phishers just go for the harder targets like eBay, Paypal and Banks? Since a significant proportion of sites these days require a login and password, and that many people will simply use the same login and password, why not phish for some forum or news site, where users are off g
      • by Sigma 7 (266129)

        why do phishers just go for the harder targets like eBay, Paypal and Banks? Since a significant proportion of sites these days require a login and password, and that many people will simply use the same login and password, why not phish for some forum or news site, where users are off guard and more likely to fall for the phish?

        eBay, and Paypal aren't too difficult, because that's where everybody swarms. When everybody swarms there, you get plenty on the lower end of the spectrum that fall to phishing.

        In a

    • I can honestly tell you that I could get access to most business's databases within 2 weeks. I won't do it, but I could.

      I work in the security industry for a company that does financial software. Despite all our efforts, at best we can only stop poorly-funded, poorly-motivated attackers. And our security is much better than most.

      Most people, even those in IT, have NO FREAKIN IDEA how complicated information security is.
    • As "hacker" for a big organization you will not work alone. A nice guy with a wad of Dead Presidents will persuade the minimum-wage night guard to open the back door at 03:00. At 03:01 you get in, reboot the Windows server in safe mode, install a backdoor and leave in 03:15.
  • Hoax maybe? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:34AM (#17171244) Journal
    This seems like a monumentally stupid way to recruit hackers. Let's see, leave a public record of you funding a student (rather than cold cash), then when he graduates, tell him, oops, you want him to break several laws. "Oh really? Well, thanks for the free education. Hey feds, over here!" *gets witness protection* *gets guaranteed income for life* *eliminates obligation to employer*

    In order for this to work, you'd have to credibly threaten or capture a loved one. But if you've got the techie that way, ... er, why do you need to pay for his education again?
    • Good point, but there is also the other perspective. The gang will have the cracker's personal information (required to pay the tuition bills), making it more of a challenge for him to hide if things don't go well. There would have to be a strong trust beyond the average employer/employee mindset or else a false move by either side will cause everyone to get caught.
    • Re:Hoax maybe? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Massacrifice (249974) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:01AM (#17171358)
      Well, if they start by requiring the would be hacker to "prove" himself (or herself?) worthy by doing something illegal, they can then blackmail him into doing more. I would assume that criminal activities start before the end of the studies. If the studies ever get completed, that is.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Would you really be willing to break contact with your family and everyone you know and commit to a life of fear just to pay school tuition?
      • by Wiener (36657)
        Would you really be willing to break contact with your family and everyone you know and commit to a life of fear just to pay school tuition?

        Yeah...student loans can be a real bitch sometimes.
    • Re:Hoax maybe? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:39AM (#17172072) Homepage Journal
      >In order for this to work, you'd have to credibly threaten or capture a loved one.

      The old recipe for recruiting a spy was MICE: Money, Ideology, Compromise, Ego. If organized crime really is troling computer students, they could use at least three of those, and maybe even ideology ("stick it to the greedy corporate exploiters and their fascist tools in government", or something like that).

      The other problem is, what's a CS degree going to do for a blackhat?

      Put them through drama school and psychology if you want to raise a crop of social engineers, use an apprenticeship system if you need vulnerability finders, but CS? There are only a few problems in the criminal world (robust scalable botnet control, untracable communications) that are computer science problems. And there can't be room for many people to work on those.

      The article was way too light on any of the specifics that would have inclined me to trust it.
      • by toganet (176363)

        I agree, although the article actually says "IT Degree", which probably translates to a degree from DeVry or the like.

        What they should be paying for is an Informatics [washington.edu] degree -- it includes the technical aspects of hacking (programming languages from a pragmatic standpoint), but combines it with the social and communication elements you mentioned.

      • by dr_dank (472072)
        The article reminded me of this story [slashdot.org] from years ago about Columbian drug cartels having an actual IT staff to keep its organization running.

        The most remarkable part of that article was the IBM mainframe they'd have datamining phone switch info, cross-referencing it with known numbers of government agents in order to ferret out rats.
      • Understanding computer and network architecture is useful in the art of penetration. Understanding discrete math, probability, and counting is ESSENTIAL for being able to pick the right attack vector. I imagine a professionally-employed hacker will want to be able to tell his boss "it will take 27 days to have a 50% chance of defeating this password based on their password policy." Most people can't do that stuff without a college education.
  • by PixieDust (971386) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:35AM (#17171250)
    Everything internet related means lots of dollar signs. What's intruiging here is how it could also play out amongst large corporations. We all know about the difference between a White Hatter, and a Black Hatter. Now consider a network of say, 20 people, top to bottom. At the top, is some poor twit either finishing up college, or already working for a fairly large business (as this article indicates some targets are). At the bottom (in this case, origin), is Company A, that really wants to see company B go down. High profile, but they're paying a pretty penny. Think about it.

    Wal-Mart. Big huge massive retail company. How much do you think it would be worth to K-Mart, or Target, or various other retailers, for Wal-Mart to just be down for a few days? Easily into tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Sad part is, the person at the top doesn't even have to know what's going on. They just say "Hey write a program that will do this, and propogate. We'll give you a cool 100Gs." Kid says hells yea, takes a few hours, whatever, writes it, and gives it to them, collects.

    Two weeks later, Wal-Mart plant sticks the little nasty into the Wal-Mart mainframe, and it gets disseminated to every single store in the company. The plant is nice and safe (removed by organization, or perhaps just left to fend for themselves, whatever), many of the people involved will never be caught, and the person that wrote it may not even know they were responsible!

    Perhaps I should take off my tin-foil hat, but still, it's a helluva "What-If".

    • by Lehk228 (705449) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:25AM (#17171436) Journal
      if an attacker had access to wal*mart's systems, shutting them down for a few days would be a bad way to do it, instead attack trust and dependability.

      screw up certain shipments for holidays, occasionally add an item or three to credit card purchases, add a hundred bucks to random debits.

      then at the end transfer all credit card numbers, debit card numbers, signatures, and PINs to a third party


      halting operations would be bad for walmart, leaking EVERY SINGLE credit card transaction processed by walmart would be much worse long term.

      the attack could be even more effective if the pharmacy/medical records kept could be leaked. people get pissed when their viagra perscription gets posted on the internet
      • This is a sticky subject...

        The probable mechanism for profit would be to short NYSE:WMT just before a viral attack is executed. If that attack were to happen on thanksgiving, just in time for 'black Friday', the profit could be huge.

        The long-term is a better strategy in monetary terms, but risk is proportional to time. A single event is much harder to get caught at then a bunch of events. Introducing endemic shrinkage in the credit handling system would require a large number of (potentially) traceable even
        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          the multiple errors would be done by computer code added just once, the second contact would be required to export the credit information to yourself, however due to the goals of this release there is no need to ensure it goes to yourself.

          posting bots that roam VBullitin sites, spam mailers, usenet, and IRC would together make a very large receptical for a data dump.
    • by icepick72 (834363)
      Ya, I saw that movie too where the computers worked all the time, people got in and out without being detected and the law enforcement was bumbling the issues and couldn't catch up to the criminals.
    • Yes, but this is not how "hackers" make money. They make money by selling spam and pop-ups sent through bot nets. And also by phishing email/websites. (Although the latter is extremely traceable, so it only seems to be done by people in countries where they don't do anything about it, like the former Soviet bloc.)
  • Ok,so now techies are also supposed to watch out when getting hired; not just lawyers like those in that John Grisham novel. :)
  • by LinuxLuver (775817) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:52AM (#17171318)
    Criminal gangs should be able to offer some very "creative" fringe benefit packages. You want $200,000 a year? Or maybe $150,000 and a two hookers / week? Tax that!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NotFamousYet (937650)
      Actually, it is true that what most tech-savvy people expect from an IT job is a good combination of comfort and challenge (see Google's very long list of fringe benefits).

      If you're a student, such an offer is definitely more tempting and self-rewarding than working in a cubicle.
    • At $500 a go, those would want to be some pretty special hookers. I prefer mine to be the $10 motel variety. Plus, you can put your cigarettes out on them.
      • I was thinking of the higher end of the market, yeah......and $500 could either guarantee one hour with a goddess or 4 hours with someone slightly less attractive, but probably much more fun. :-)
  • The low risk of being caught and the relatively high-rewards on offer helped the criminal gangs to paint an attractive picture of a cyber criminal's life, said Mr Day.

    Why exactly isn't there a fear of getting caught? Considering the way the RIAA and other orgs (FBI) is able to track internet users, why so anon? -devils advocate
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The people who get caught by the RIAA are the "low hanging fruit" most of the time. They're either hitting ten year olds or they're hitting the superseeders (or the guys who run the sites). People with IT degrees who pirate would use safer, and harder to trace, methods. Even just using PeerGuardian or pirating via proxy (or stealing wireless) is going to help you a great deal in terms of not getting caught. Additionally, they "stay in the middle" in terms of threat level.

      Same for these hackers. They'r
  • by rampant mac (561036) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:15AM (#17171404)
    SCO is hiring? I'm so in there...
  • All "hackers" who choosen to work for criminal organizations are not true hackers.

    They are against the ways of the hackers! They choose to harm the internet! They don't deserve the title "hackers". What they really deserve is the title "crackers". For they have chosen such unspeakable unethical career!

              -Happy Hacking, Kiba
  • And what's their motto?

    DO evil? :P
  • they could just get a degree the same way "Michael Parker" from Mitnick's first book got one.

  • I just had a headhunter call me the other day regarding an open position at SomeBigSearch Engine.
    I had never conducted business with me before. We had never talked. In order to submit my application to the company, he stated that he needed me to give him my SSN#. I spent several minutes explaining that I do not give out my SSN to strangers, never mind when I initially submit my resume to a company. He was incredulous at my reluctance.
    Now, I'd imagine there is a huge untapped market, of soon to be graduating
    • by cinexero (983612)
      Yesterday I got an email from SomeBigProcessorManufacturer trying to recruit me. Seemed fishy as hell, I'm gonna call the company in question Monday to figure out what is going on.

      Actually, I think I may have already fallen for one such scam. I was contacted by a student at my university claiming to be the student recruiter for AnotherBigICManufacturer asking for a resume. I fired it off without a glance. Tried to email him again, it bounced. Fuck.

      I mean, you could really screw someone with their resume, I
  • by b.burl (1034274)
    ...I thought it was going to be about the new ms recruitment drive.
  • by nbauman (624611) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @12:33PM (#17174524) Homepage Journal
    Did anybody notice that this BBC story is based entirely on a report, "McAfee Virtual Criminology Report http://www.softmart.com/mcafee/docs/McAfee%20NA%20 Virtual%20Criminology%20Report.pdf [softmart.com] and an interview with one of its authors?

    This report -- from 2005 -- doesn't have anything that you couldn't have already read on Slashdot or the newspapers.

    The BBC didn't check McAfee's claims with another source. The McAfee report doesn't say anything about criminals paying tuition for students to study computer science. The McAfee security analyst didn't give any details. The BBC didn't ask him the obvious question, "How do you know?" Did he talk to a student like this? Did he find it in court records? Or did he hear it from another security expert after a few drinks?

    Has McAfee been reliable in the past?
  • The Wired Article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phat_Tony (661117) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:23PM (#17174974)
    Three years ago, Wired had an article [wired.com] written by a guy who does tech support for the Mafia.
  • Medical, dental? How about a retirement package?
  • by not_hylas( ) (703994) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:28PM (#17177778) Homepage Journal
    What we *had* here was a failure to communicate.
    That seems to be clearing up, somewhat.

    If you remember just a few, scant years ago, this discussion would be full of:
    * "Your a moran"
    "How about that tin foil hat"
    "You watch too much TV"
    "I guess you are a leet hacker dude :-P"

    and so on.

    Perhaps Kevin (TM) has helped us understand what has been perpetrated on us for years (witting or unwitting social engineering).

    The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0471 237124/ref=ase_mitnicksecuri-20/103-6052457-813506 9?v=glance&s=books [amazon.com]

    So the internet does make us smarter, eh?

    For example:
    The Kennedy assassination made the word "conspiracy" a knee jerk, almost unconscientious reaction to discount whatever followed as ludicrous.

    As an exercise let me roll this past you.

    If the Japanese in WWII could have attacked every home in the US by way of their radio set top box (a "brown note" for electronics), to start fires in every home ...

    http://www.schmarder.com/radios/crystal/ [schmarder.com]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_note [wikipedia.org]

    do you think they would have conspired with College (engineering) students to help them?

    Criminals are now MBAs, Engineers and Rocket Scientists.
    Your desktop could be mocking you.

    * [yes, it's misspelled]

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