VeriChip to push spy-chips on old farts

April 23, 2008

Blogs from ZDNet reports the RFID-chip makers VeriChip is planning to push the implantable spy-chips directly to the South-Florida public in a campaign blitz targeting seniors beginning April 28. VeriChip’s idea is to link the chip to the person’s medical records. Larry Dignan believes this to be a good idea, allowing patients easier access to their personal medical records. On the other hand, Dana Blankenhorn expresses the usual concerns about their use, especially with seniors without Alzheimer’s:

* How much memory on this chip? Enough to get my full health record on it? How about my allergies and basic condition?
* How difficult is it to write to the chip? What about its security?
* How common will readers be?
* Who controls what gets written on the chip? Can it be hacked? Conversely, can it be accessed when needed?
* Can the chip be cloned? (Clone me, Doctor Memory!)

Larry asks some other good questions, although there are some long-running controversies he doesn’t address:

1. Is this really the mark of the beast?
2. Could the government use it to track and trap us?
3. What if the chip insertion site gets infected? What if the chip moves?
4. Could the VeriChip cause cancer?
5. Is this just a scam by former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson?

There’s a sucker born every minute. VeriChip is counting on that during their ad-blitz where convenience can override paranoia about the chips (particularly the cancer risk). And if that blitz succeeds? From Blankenhorn:

If the present marketing effort succeeds the company is bound to push for chipping everyone, given the chance of violence or accidents in our society.

Instant surveillance grid, with everyone under the microscope.

Current chips are nothing more than a number that needs to be tied to your personal records in some corp-government database. The next chips may have memory, possibly recording devices, to store your (deviant) thoughts for use against you, as a way to resurrect or clone you if you die (Altered Carbon reference), or for someone to make a Final Cut of your life.

Right now, the jury is out to see if the campaign can con enough geezers into getting implanted. Hopefully not.

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

Hackers get hacked, or Turnabout is fair play

April 15, 2008

Joel Eriksson hacks hackers @ RSA Conference

Joel Ericksson at the RSA Conference, where he shows how he hacks the hackers. Black-hats are getting nervous.

Tit for tat. Wired’s Ryan Singel reports from the RSA Security Conference in San-Fran and gives us a dose of hope for all those whose systems have been nailed by malware:

Eriksson, a researcher at the Swedish (Norwegian?) security firm Bitsec, uses reverse-engineering tools to find remotely exploitable security holes in hacking software. In particular, he targets the client-side applications intruders use to control Trojan horses from afar, finding vulnerabilities that would let him upload his own rogue software to intruders’ machines.

He demoed the technique publicly for the first time at the RSA conference Friday.

“Most malware authors are not the most careful programmers,” Eriksson said. “They may be good, but they are not the most careful about security.”

In other words, he uses hacker tactics to hack and pwn hacker’s systems. Confused yet?


How he RAT-ed the rat: Ericksson used a software package called a remote administration tool, or RAT, along with some standard hacking utilities to do his counterstrike:

Eriksson first attempted the technique in 2006 with Bifrost 1.1, a piece of free hackware released publicly in 2005. Like many so-called remote administration tools, or RATs, the package includes a server component that turns a compromised machine into a marionette, and a convenient GUI client that the hacker runs on his own computer to pull the hacked PC’s strings.

Using traditional software attack tools, Eriksson first figured out how to make the GUI software crash by sending it random commands, and then found a heap overflow bug that allowed him to install his own software on the hacker’s machine.

Eriksson believes his techniques can even be used to fubar botnets as well. “If there is a vulnerability, it is still game over for the hacker,” Eriksson said (in the Wired report).

The hacker wars are just warming up…

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

Machines are attacking humans… RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!!! (Updated)

April 12, 2008

A couple of stories from Wired may have the sheeple doing a Chicken Little.


Military Robot Turns Its Gun on US Soldiers

Source: Popular Mechanics
An armed military robot, known as SWORDS, was reportedly pulled of Iraqi battlefields practically at the last second:

Last year, three armed ground bots were deployed to Iraq. But the remote-operated SWORDS units were almost immediately pulled off the battlefield, before firing a single shot at the enemy. Here at the conference, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Ground Forces, Kevin Fahey, was asked what happened to SWORDS. After all, no specific reason for the 11th-hour withdrawal ever came from the military or its contractors at Foster-Miller. Fahey’s answer was vague, but he confirmed that the robots never opened fire when they weren’t supposed to. His understanding is that “the gun started moving when it was not intended to move.” In other words, the SWORDS swung around in the wrong direction, and the plug got pulled fast. No humans were hurt, but as Fahey pointed out, “once you’ve done something that’s really bad, it can take 10 or 20 years to try it again.”

Translation: The bot started moving, and the technophobes freaked. No reason for why the bot moved when it shouldn’t have has been given. Wired likened the SWORDS situation the Robocop scene where a presentation of ED-209 goes fubar when a suit is mistakenly gunned down.

The insurgent who may have hacked the SWORD’s frequency must be smiling like a shark.

UPDATE 15-May-2008: This blog from Wired reports that the SWORDS battlebots are still in Iraq, only not doing what they were supposed to do:

The first three armed ground robots deployed onto a battlefield are stuck behind sandbags and are not patrolling Iraqi streets as its inventors envisioned, said a senior executive with its manufacturer, Foster-Miller Inc.

The reson for the bots malfunctioning is even easier to explain in two words: Shoddy workmanship.

There were three cases of uncommanded movements, but all three were prior to the 2006 safety certification, she says. “One case involved a loose wire. So, now there is now redundant wiring on every circuit. One involved a solder, a connection that broke. everything now is double-soldered.” The third case was a test were the robot was put on a 45 degree hill and left to run for two and a half hours. “When the motor started to overheat, the robot shut the motor off, that caused the robot to slide back down the incline,” she says. “Those are the three uncommanded movements.”

Once the bugs are worked out, the bots may eventually see battlefield action. Then we can say humanity is screwed.


Industrial Control Systems Killed Once and Will Again, Experts Warn

Source: Wired

In 1999, three people died and eight were injured when gasoline in a creek from a ruptured line caught fire. This past Wednesday, computer-security “experts,” speaking at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, claimed that the incident was the result of “a control-system incident:”

Wednesday, computer-security experts who recently re-examined the Bellingham incident called its victims the first verified human causalities of a control-system computer incident. They argue that government cybersecurity standards currently under debate might have prevented the tragedy.

But the factor that intrigues (Joe) Weiss and fellow researcher Marshall Abrams, a scientist at MITRE, is a still largely unexplained computer failure that began less than 30 minutes before the accident and paralyzed the central control room operating the pipeline, preventing workers from releasing pressure in the line before it hemorrhaged.

“The NTSB concluded that if the SCADA system computers had remained responsive to the commands of the Olympic controllers, the controller operating the pipeline probably would have been able to initiate actions that would have prevented the pressure increase that ruptured the pipeline,” reads the NIST report.

“These are the first fatalities from a control-system cyberevent that I can document, and for a fact say that this really occurred,” Weiss said in an earlier interview with

The board found no evidence of a computer attack from the outside, though. But Weiss, an outspoken evangelist for tighter control-system security standards, said he’s suspicious of the NTSB’s finding that the computer operator was at fault.

While SCADA systems security have been improved (we hope so, at least), Mr. Weiss’s comments sounds too much like a sales pitch for NIST 800-53, the government’s “security standard” he hopes infrastructure providers will adopt, especially after the CIA’s claim of hackers attacking foreign utilities earlier this year. Keep pouring that kool-aid, Mr. Weiss.

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

Anti-Landmine group targets Terminators

April 1, 2008

Source: NewScientistTech

London-based Landmine Action, who have pressured nations against land mines and cluster bombs, are now looking to terminate Terminators before they ever get their AIs in order.

Failure detected in the tin-foil-to-brain interface. Landmine Action seems to have the right idea, but this may be a sign of a paranoid delusion. Land mines and cluster bombs are existing technologies that are being used; Terminator robots do not exist… yet. There are armed robots out there (human controlled), and there are autonomous robots (somewhat), but there are no armed autonomous robots.

Then there’s this Wired Danger Room blog on the same article that says that the Pentagon will still have human intervention planned for the possible Terminators:

The Pentagon has not only never advocated taking the man-out-the-loop of targeting decisions for drones or robots, its current policies and procedures would prohibit such a move (some might argue that international law already prohibits autonomous armed drones).

They even have a link to this DoD brief on targeting.


John and Sarah Connor, they are not. Wired’s Sharon Weinberger sparked a bit of controversy with her take on the NewScientist Report; Enough to justify questioning those who are warning of the “impending robot revolt:”

My first question, and what prompted the original post, was: Where and when has the Pentagon advocated handing over actual weapons release decisions to an artificial life form? The Predator, SWORDS, and other robotic systems may have a few, limited capabilities to autonomously operate. But the decision to shoot is currently made, quite pointedly, by a human operator. If there has been a sea-change in Pentagon policy, I would like someone to point out a reliable source noting this change. (If there is another country that it taking the man completely out of the loop, again, I’d like to see evidence for this.)

My second question is: how do we define a robot? DANGER ROOM has written about “killer robots” a number of times, but these are not Terminators, since, again, there is a man in the loop. As several commenters pointed out, a Roomba is an autonomous system, so all it takes is a Roomba with a bomb to create a “killer robot.” In other words, the capability exists for robots to kill without human intervention. That’s true, but that capability has existed for decades. As another commenter noted: a heat-seeking missile could, by some definitions, be regarded as a robot (particularly if, as the original post noted, we equate land mines with robots). Okay, if a landmine is a robot, then isn’t every guided missile, weapon and bomb a robot (and if so, should we ban them all)?

If heat-seekers qualify as robots, then Landmine Action’s mission has failed miserably… even before it got started.

Perhaps the bigger problem is: What if autonomous robots fall into terrorist hands? This Reuters article asks that question outright. With the needed components becoming cheaper and cheaper, a home-brew Terminator army may not be far off. That may be the true problem that Landmine Action needs to intervene.

Then again, if Terminators do become reality, who do you think they would target first?

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

Pakistan calls jihad on YouTube… and fails life

February 25, 2008

How dumb are these people? Only last week did swiss bank syndicate Bank Julius Baer learn (we hope) that Internet censorship is FUTILE in their lame attempt to censor WikiLeaks. Now, Pakistan is taking a limp-penis poke at net-censorship by attempting to block YouTube, only to screw themselves off the net.

These blogs from ZDNet’s Richard Stiennon shows the brief timeline thus far:

3:16 PM Eastern US time:

Pakistan takes out YouTube by ZDNet’s Richard Stiennon — Like I said in a recent post, the Internet is a series of tubes. Sometimes that helps route around malicious legislation and regulators, somethings it causes big problems. Like today at 2 PM eastern when someone in Pakistan announced a more specific BGP route announcement for the block of IP addresses that YouTube uses. Routers […]

3:36 PM:

Pakistan declares war on YouTube by ZDNet’s Richard Stiennon — What could at first have been just one of those days on the Internet where some newbie engineer accidentally announces a spurious route and takes out a segment of the network has turned into an international fiasco. But no, Pakastan has ordered all ISP’s to block YouTube. From Yahoo news: ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan has […]

4:40 PM:

Pakistan removed from the Internet by ZDNet’s Richard Stiennon — 4:30 PM Eastern (US). The telecom company that carries most of Pakistan’s traffic, PCCW, has found it necessary to shut Pakistan off from the Internet while they filter out the malicious routes that a Pakistani ISP, PieNet, announced earlier today. Evidently PieNet took this step to enforce a decree from the Pakistani government that ISP’s […]

Richard’s third blog has his comment that pretty much puts the Pakistani zealots in their place:

A religious state, Pakistan, identifies a content provider, YouTube, as the source of blasphemous, seditious content and orders, King Canute style, that the Internet tides be stopped. A zealous ISP ignorantly decides the best way to comply with the decree is to re-route all of YouTube’s IP addresses to whatever site they thought was more appropriate. The first repercussion was that YouTube disappeared from the Internet for almost an hour. I suspect the second repercussion was that Pakistan’s Internet access crawled to a halt as all of a sudden they were handling IP requests for one of the busiest sites in the world. As of this writing YouTube has announced more granular routes so that at least in the US they supercede the routes announced by PieNet. The rest of the world is still struggling. So, while working on a fix that will filter out the spurious route announcements, PCCW has found it necessary to shut down Pakistan’s Internet access. The leadership of Pakistan just created a massive Denial of Service on their own country.

Pakistan took itself offline… SMOOTH MOVE EX-LAX!

Musharraf calls “blasphemy,” someone else calls “shenanigans.” The Islamabad zealots called for the blockage of YouTube for “containing ‘blasphemous’ content and material considered offensive to Islam.”


There may be another reason for the god-squad’s knee-jerk reaction, as shown in this post on Blogger News Network:

Musharraf’s Inquisition: Reason Why YouTube Was Blocked In Pakistan
February 24th, 2008 by Farrukh Khan Pitafi

The telecommunication authorities are claiming in Pakistan that YouTube was blocked for featuring allegedly blasphemous documentaries. While this move if triggered by this motive is as foolish as burning an entire library just because on a page of one of the books someone has scribbled a couple of words against you, it is far from truth. Actually Musharraf is a very self centered and insecure man these days and has recently learned from his sycophants that YouTube carries many videos critical of his government especially his torture on lawyers and political captives and since during this campaign technology played critical role in influencing people he wants to block out every kind of criticism. Again many citizens have reportedly uploaded video clips showing rigging under process in the constituencies where his allies either won or managed to dilute the verdict. There is distant though connected evidence why this must be true.

The day when the government decided to block YouTube two things happened. First AAJ TV brought back on air two of its anchors banned by Musharraf. The channel was immediately blocked by the satellite operator. The crime of the two anchors (Nusrat Javed and Mushtaq Minhas) was only to doubt Musharraf’s previous claims thinking out loud on television. Musharraf’s this ban has affected many of Pakistan’s leading anchors and opinion leaders of which I am aware of Dr Shahid Masood, Hamid Mir, Asma Sherazi and Kashif Abbasi apart from the above two.

The second thing that happened was the airing of an investigative report by Geo television which showed footage of rigging in the constituencies of Musharraf loyalists made through hidden camera. This too has reportedly not gone down well with Musharraf. Since in the past the regime also tried to block google’s weblog hosting service in the name of countering blasphemy, the ban on YouTube does not seem anything different. But Musharraf’s toadies are not happy with Pakistani blogs and cable channels too. So a similar ban may follow on these outlets too unless the west pressures him not to do so. This episode however has exposed Musharraf’s liberal credentials and committment to fighting extremism yet again.


Lessons NOT learned. Somebody didn’t learn from Bank Julius Baer’s idiocy in trying to get WikiLeaks shut down, but since they’ve cut themselves off the net it’s understandable. If Pakistan needs to learn a lesson, it is this:

You silence the TRUTH, it will become louder.
You blind the TRUTH, it will become brighter and clearer.
You suppress the TRUTH, it will oppress you.
You close the door on the TRUTH, it will open the windows.
You imprison the TRUTH, it will escape.
You devalue the TRUTH, it will become more valuable than you can afford.
You claim the TRUTH is a lie, it will prove YOU are the lie.
You strangle the TRUTH, it will slip through your iron fist like so much sand.
You declare the TRUTH is dead, it will live longer and stronger.

And as ZDNet’s Dana Blankenhorn wrote:

Censorship just makes the news bigger, and making it harder to get makes it more attractive. Successful censorship isolates entire countries, economy and all.

Congratulations, Musharraf. You just screwed the nation you’re supposed to lead.

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

The war against TRUTH: Criminal bank trying to shut down WikiLeaks

February 21, 2008

Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Message displayed while WikiLeaks home page loads.

A war against TRUTH. The website had the potential of making lots of enemies: A website that dares to expose the TRUTH that others want suppressed, especially if that TRUTH hurts their profits or power structure. But nobody expected an American judge to make an attempt to censor or shut down WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks posted some documents showing a Swiss banking group, Bank Julius Baer, was engaged in criminal activities, specifically money laundering and tax evasion. The group asked the documents be removed “because they could affect the outcome of a separate legal case in Switzerland.” (Web Pro News) You would think that would be enough, but California judge Jeffery White, a Duh’bya appointee nonetheless, decided to go further. Here’s the original “permanent injunction” the dumb fuck granted Bank Julius Baer against Dynadot, WikiLeaks’ domain registrar:

1. Dynadot shall immediately lock the domain name to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar, and shall immediately disable the domain name and account to prevent access to and any changes from being made to the domain name and account information, until further order of this Court.

2. Dynadot shall immediately disable the domain name and account such that the optional privacy who-is service for the domain name and account remains turned off, until further order of this Court.

3. Dynadot shall preserve a true and correct copy of both current and any and all prior or previous administrative and account records and data for the domain name and account.

4. Dynadot shall immediately clear and remove all DNS hosting records for the domain name and prevent the domain name from resolving to the website or any other website or server other than a blank park page, until further order of this Court.

5. Dynadot shall immediately produce both current and any all prior or previous administrative and account records and data for the domain name and account, including, but not limited to, all data for the registrant; billing, technical and administrative
contacts; all account and payment records and associated data; and IP addresses and associated data used by any person, other than Dynadot, who accessed the account for the domain name, to the extent such information is maintained by Dynadot.

6. Plaintiffs shall immediately upon entry of this order file a dismissal with prejudice in favor of Dynadot. Notwithstanding the foregoing, plaintiffs and Dynadot stipulate and agree that the Court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce this order.

Dated: February , 2008
Jeffrey S. White
United States District Judge
Case 3:08-cv-00824-JSW Document 47-2 Filed 02/14/2008 Page 2 of 2

Translation: Dumb fuck judge Jeffey wants WikiLeaks shut down, most likely because he’s afraid of somebody leaking information on how much in kickbacks he’s getting from Bank Julius Baer for being so compliant.


Can’t keep a good website down. WikiLeaks has to be a tough mofo with what they have to deal with at times, such as a recent DDoS attack on their servers, a fire in an Uninterruptible Power Supply, and threats from governments. Some over-glorified shark asswipe in a little black dress with no clue to what the Internet is about isn’t going to stop WikiLeaks’ mission of exposing the TRUTH. Already, they have several alternate URLs to lead you there, or you can just use their IP address of


What started the fight. The Cryptome website has the damning documents Bank Julius Baer want deleted, along with other docs being lobbed at Dynadot and WikiLeaks. They also have links to mirrors of WikiLeaks’ archives in case the sharks succeed in shutting them down… not that that’s likely to happen.


UPDATE (19-Feb-08): Judge backs down on shutdown order. Looks like Judge Jeffey came to his senses. ZDNet’s Richard Komen reports that the permanent injunction has been amended; Reducing it to a temporary restraining order and removing the orders that the site be disabled. The order to remove the “offending” documents remains, but don’t expect WikiLeaks to comply anytime soon. According to correspondence between BJB and WikiLeaks, BJB’s shysters have been vague and evasive in their demands, going so far as conducting a sneak-attack ex-parte hearing by notifying WikiLeaks only hours in advance.

From ZDNet’s Richard Komen:

It seems that WikiLeaks lawyers were able to convince the judge that something was amiss here, because the second order, a TRO, provides WikiLeaks an opportunity to answer (by Feb. 20) and JB to respond to that answer (by Feb. 26.) One question is whether JB lied about there being a stipulation for WikiLeaks to go offline, since WL compained so vociferously about it and the order was so quickly amended.

A hearing on the injunction is scheduled for Feb. 29 at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.


UPDATE (20-Feb-08): Syndicate was looking to go public:

Bank that censored WikiLeaks was preparing for IPO by ZDNet’s Richard Koman — I just received this press statment from WikiLeaks: Wikileaks has discovered Bank Julius Baer was preparing to take their US operation public via an a billion dollar IPO. They filed the prospectus with the SEC on Feb 12, a mere three days before convincing Federal court Judge Jeffery White to order total censorship of the transparency […]

The prospectus can be viewed online here. Of course the SEC wouldn’t want to be accused of aiding a criminal enterprise… right? So many potential millions of US dollars being funneled into a criminal organization now in jeopardy because of the TRUTH being leaked out… SOMETHING has to be done to suppress the TRUTH.


Harsh lessons about the TRUTH. Take notes, BJB, there will be a pop quiz later.

You silence the TRUTH, it will become louder.
You blind the TRUTH, it will become brighter and clearer.
You suppress the TRUTH, it will oppress you.
You close the door on the TRUTH, it will open the windows.
You imprison the TRUTH, it will escape.
You devalue the TRUTH, it will become more valuable than you can afford.
You claim the TRUTH is a lie, it will prove YOU are the lie.
You strangle the TRUTH, it will slip through your iron fist like so much sand.
You declare the TRUTH is dead, it will live longer and stronger.

Perhaps the best description of what is happening comes from ZDNet’s Dana Blankenhorn:

Censorship just makes the news bigger, and making it harder to get makes it more attractive. Successful censorship isolates entire countries, economy and all.

Julius Baer, the bank which tried to keep its secrets, and Judge Jeffrey S. White, the Bush appointee who tried to help it do so, are going to learn the hard way what the rest of us have known for over a decade.

While the year-old Wikileaks has just made its bones.


UPDATE: 2-Mar-2008. Judge Jeffrey White got a clue; He has reversed his injunctions against WikiLeaks (dot-org) and the site is now available via

A couple of quotes from Judge White’s decision:


The judge conceded the futility of attempts to censor information, in this instance private banking records, after it has been posted to the internet.

“When this genie gets out of the bottle, it’s out for all purposes,” U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said after a more than 3-hour-long hearing here. Earlier, White said he had “an obligation to get it right” and that “I took an oath to uphold the Constitution.”

One attorney for BJB said there were no First Amendment problems, invoking a U.S. Supreme Court precedent dealing with an intercepted conversation played by a radio station because, “We allege, your honor, that Wikileaks has actively solicited the theft of private information…they are participants in the illegality.”

BJB also said, “We’re talking about private banking information, account numbers, personal numbers like Social Security numbers…all this is private information that’s not newsworthy…None of the publishers here today would want their own banking information posted on the Internet.”

The judge’s preruling reply: “Let me play devil’s advocate here. Is it newsworthy if some prominent citizen is…evading taxes, laundering funds? Wouldn’t that be something in the public interest?”

Another hearing is scheduled for May 16.

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

The CIA’s latest claim: Hackers Have Attacked Foreign Utilities.

January 19, 2008

If you like a little FUD with your kool-aid, the CIA’s latest claim of hacker acitivity will have you salivating:

Associated Press:

Hackers literally turned out the lights in multiple cities after breaking into electrical utilities and demanding extortion payments before disrupting the power, a senior CIA analyst told utility engineers at a trade conference.

All the break-ins occurred outside the United States, said senior CIA analyst Tom Donahue. The U.S. government believes some of the hackers had inside knowledge to cause the outages. Donahue did not specify what countries were affected, when the outages occurred or how long the outages lasted. He said they happened in “several regions outside the United States.”

“In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities,” Donahue said in a statement. “We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet.”

A CIA spokesman Friday declined to provide additional details

Washington Post:

In a rare public warning to the power and utility industry, a CIA analyst this week said cyber attackers have hacked into the computer systems of utility companies outside the United States and made demands, in at least one case causing a power outage that affected multiple cities.

“We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet,” Tom Donahue, the CIA’s top cybersecurity analyst, said Wednesday at a trade conference in New Orleans.

Donahue’s comments were “designed to highlight to the audience the challenges posed by potential cyber intrusions,” CIA spokesman George Little said. The audience was made up of 300 U.S. and international security officials from the government and from electric, water, oil and gas companies, including BP, Chevron and the Southern Co.

“We suspect, but cannot confirm, that some of the attackers had the benefit of inside knowledge,” Donahue said. He did not specify where or when the attacks took place, their duration or the amount of money demanded. Little said the agency would not comment further.



Hacker History 101. If you’ve never read Bruce Sterling’s The Hacker Crackdown, YOU NEED TO READ IT! Here’s a link to The Cyberpunk Project’s online version. You can also search for an e-text for offline reading. At least, listen to Cory Doctorow’s podcasts of him reading the book (linkage). The Hacker Crackdown shows how the timing of the “Operation Sundevil” raids, several AT&T system crashes, and the growing hysteria of “the hacker underground” in the popular media came together.

Now, timing seems to be working in favor of the US spy community as the CIA’s claim of hacker activity against utlities comes, suspiciously, only two days after the top US spy Mike McConnell claims that “the government must have the ability to read all the information crossing the Internet in the United States in order to protect it from abuse,” even though former spy Michael Tanji says “this is no way to win an intelligence war.”


Calling all conspiracy theorists… The timing of McConnell’s want of total information awareness and the CIA’s claim of hackers causing blackouts seems to be more than a coincidence. If the claim is true, it gives McConnell the credibility he needs for such absolute net traffic policing.

But if these outages did occur, how come no other media outlet has reported them?

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

Dan Rather: Corporations, Government runs newsrooms.

September 23, 2007

Sept. 20, 2007. Dan Rather is suing his former employers at CBS and Viacom (CBS’s former parent company) for $70M.

I know, it’s not something that would normaly be on the front of Cyberpunk Review, but what Dan Rather says about how the network “news” is being filtered and delivered to you…

Samantha Gross (Associated Press Writer):

Dan Rather said Thursday that the undue influence of the government and large corporations over newsrooms spurred his decision to file a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former parent company.

“Somebody, sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive with the level of big corporate and big government interference and intimidation in news,” he said on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

Rather cites the “discredited” 2004 story about Bush’s military service for making him a scapegoat, causing his removal from the CBS Evening News in 2005.


Sound familiar yet? One theme of cyberpunk is corporate control over society (see What is Cyberpunk?), and what better way to exercise that control than to inject propaganda into the evening news, displacing hard reality with brain-draining fluff about some pop-tart.

Ever wonder why the “news” seems dominated by the latest Britney Spears fuck-up while little to no negativity against the Bush administration is present? And why has the number of bloggers exploded, while traditional press and news outlets struggle to adopt the Internet’s abilities?


What’s the reality, Kenneth? Rather’s career has been historical, but also controversial at times, including an on-air confrontation with then Vice-President “Papa Bush.” Like father, like son; George Bush senior never gave Dan Rather another interview and junior has never been interviewed by him either. Ironically, it was Air National Guard documents that described junior Bush as “unfit” that began the end of Rather’s career. A Bush family vendetta against Mr. Rather? Quite possible…

But Rather’s beef goes beyond the Bush family; He also says that journalism has lost its guts:

Daniel Terdiman, Staff Writer, CNET

During his hour-long keynote address Monday at South by Southwest Interactive, Rather opined at length on the state of his profession, in which too many journalists have become lapdogs to power, rather than watchdogs.

Rather reiterated the journalist’s role as a watchdog.

“Not as an attack dog…But what does the lapdog do? He just crawls into someone’s lap,” he said. “A good watchdog barks at everything that’s suspicious. I submit to you, the American press’ role is to be a watchdog.”

Part of the problem, according to the the CNET article, is that journalists don’t want to rock the boat and risk confrontation with the power elite so as not to jeopardize their access to them… something even Rather admits to doing. Unfortunately, this leads to the journalist becoming a puppet of the elite. Another problem is the growing consolidation of media companies that causes newsrooms to be more interested in keeping shareholders happy than finding the truth.

While he sees traditional journalists as seduced by corporate (and government) interests, he also sees hope in the Internet’s blogosphere:

“The Internet is a tremendous tool for not just news, (because) its potential is unlimited for that,” Rather said, but for “illumination and opening things up.”

Rather responded that he sees a lot of potential in the Internet, and in the blogosphere in particular, but that he worries about anonymity on a lot of Web sites and blogs.

He said it’s very easy to attack someone when you don’t have to put your name to your complaints. He’s not sure how to strike the right balance between professional and citizen journalism, but he believes the market will eventually provide that solution.


A quest for the TRUTH… maybe. Reuters reports that Rather’s reason for the lawsuit isn’t about the money:

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter:

Instead, Rather said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that he wants to use the litigation to find out what really happened behind the scenes after his discredited report on President Bush’s military record aired on “60 Minutes II” in 2004.


If this lawsuit leads to a gov-corp-newsroom connection being exposed, it will confirm the extent of the ruling power’s influence in crating a virtual reality to keep the sheeple clueless and sedate. If not, we can file it a conspiracy theory, complete with whispers of corporate control of the newsrooms.

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.