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Journal: CNet blames Americans for botnets. Me:SAY WHAT?! 3

Journal by ediron2

Just stumbled into a CNet editorial/story on California botnet-creator J. Ancheta.

The article lede hints that Americans are cashing in on hacking as much or more than the russians. Cool, I thought, they're gonna discuss the money trail *back* to corporate America (you have noticed that Disney and travel agencies and others sub-sub-subcontract click-thru contracts that rely on popups and bots to drag users to their sites, haven't you?). Like with spyware and spam, the people that profit of adware and identity-oriented crimes are close enough to USE our information profitably, not the Russians and Bulgarians. But the big money is in extorition. I'd heard rumblings of this last week from SANS Research VP, Allen Paller, and hoped that this story would at least call attention to Americans' role as the financiers of botnets and trojans. I was wrong.

Instead, the article takes Ancheta's case and tries to handwave it into something big like Spamford Wallace or other spam kings. But along the way, it lies with the statistics. Well, not exactly *lies*.... CNet editor Rob Vamosi just hopes you won't pay attention:

"Given his modest aspirations, Ancheta lived a rather luxurious lifestyle, often seen driving his 1993 BMW and spending upward of $600 a week on new clothes and car parts." ...

"Overall, Ancheta is said to have made about $60,000 over a six-month period." ...

"The above crimes are not the result of a mafia crime syndicate. This is the work of one kid employed at an Internet cafe in Downey, California, suddenly living a life of luxury."

A kid that still fixes his own car?! Priceless!! A profit value that probably ties back to the indictment (and prosecuters always inflate damages!!!). I mean, c'mon! The kid drives a 12-year-old beemer. Ho. Lee. Shit. That is the best tie-in to US involvement in internet crime they could find!? Even Deputy Dawg would fall asleep over this guy's criminal spree.

Meanwhile, internet crime is officially a Big Deal. Paller's most-conservative estimate on the size of the organized internet crime economy is $5 Billion. Other experts hint that the numbers may be in the tens of billions. But even at $5 billion, it'd take 83,000 little pissant bot-farmers to make those numbers. That's pretty unlikely.

What we're really up against is more likely a handful of crime syndicates locking a dozen hackers apiece up at gunpoint and using their handiwork to extort $100k or more per vulnerability out of online casinos, fortune 500 firms, online giants like eBay and Amazon, and the likes.

What a travesty of reportage. I miss the days when CNet aspired to be the online news of record for the tech industry.

User Journal

Journal: WhyFoe art thou?

Journal by ediron2

Ever wondered 'WHY did I foe that username?'

I do, sometimes. Mostly because I use foes to thin out the chaff... obvious idiots, razor-edge trolls writing stuff that drags you into an argument only to realize you've just fallen for the classic 'never wrestle with pigs' blunder, people that act like experts when they're not (this seems to happen the most with space/nasa topics).

But short of trundling around a dataset of some sort, all I could do is bitch about slashdot lacking a comment field in the friends/foes list.

But today, after I got sucked into an exchange with a conservative over women in IT, it occurred to me... I foed the person, then started to write a comment to them, realized I was wasting time, hit the del-key a zillion times, and changed my reply:

Subject: Foed
Message: Ping! There went the bozo bit!

Now I have a message history that shows the 2 comments that I posted to this person, links to their messages, and my 'Foed' subject line. Quick and tidy, eh?

It still isn't ideal (even a *date* for when the foe-flag is set would be useful... esp. if it came with slashdot links to 'show this user's comments just prior to X date'). But it's something. It'll do.

User Journal

Journal: There really is a 'there' there.

Journal by ediron2

Just read this Complaint about critics reading too much into stuff, and before I could kick the poster upside the head like River (just came back from Serenity.... awesome), someone else did a good-'nuff job of correcting them.

But that left me with my posting. So, here's my little exposition on (drum roll...)

Critics finding meaning where the creator insists they never even intended it:

Bitching about comix-critics reminds me of wine critics and the likes.

I used to think wine reviews were utter nonsense. What the hell does 'playful' taste like? Or even something simple like oaky or plastic.

Then a friend dragged me to a tasting with an expert that took the time to 'splain stuff to us mere mortals. More importantly, he'd ask us to describe things. One thing led to another, and now I'm convinced. I'm even a certified Beer Judge.

Another reply hit the nail on the head: just because the creator didn't consciously plan things out doesn't mean the themes and meaning aren't there. Since the first cave-dweller grunted out the first morality play, we've been storytellers and listeners. What makes a good story is borderline instinctual after all these generations, and a good storyteller doesn't need to know s**t from semiotics to do their job. Heck, it's probably in our DNA.

Criticism isn't just about dissecting the story at hand. It is also about learning about ourselves, learning to pay attention to things at a greater detail, and putting names to the details that link together the stuff we like, or the stuff we dislike. And putting a name to stuff sometimes wakes us up to truths that otherwise are floating just out of focus.

The first tasting I went to, some guy said 'tastes like a new car smells', and we all nodded and said 'mmm, yeah, 'sactly!'. Finding a description for something is hard damn work. And that's where 'playful' comes in, when you're talkin' food criticism or artistic style.

Once you accept the limitations of language, you bend the language and look inwards to figure out what YOU think the critic means and if you agree. If you don't, you'll want to respond -- and if you do, you'll sound just like a critic. And (like so many other aspects of life) most folks don't bother. They'd rather sleepwalk thru the hard stuff. But that assuredly doesn't mean the meaning isn't there.

User Journal

Journal: Submarines apparently aren't slashdot fodder...

Journal by ediron2

I've spent the vast majority of my casual browsing the past few days trying to track the status/news on the Russian 7-man sub.

For anyone that didn't hear, they're on the surface and ok.

Meanwhile, finding current and accurate news has been horrible. I didn't realize how used to immediate news via internet sources I'd gotten until this. Usually, if I can't find news streams that are immediate/current enough via news.google, I resort to slashdot's story on the subject, read the comments to find suggestions on the best feed around.

But not on this.

Slashdot's coverage? (cue sound: Crickets)...

Between the geopolitical significance of US/UK military aircraft *landing* on Kamchatka, the technical issues, deep-water rescue talk, the nature of the grid-thing that they were tangled up in, URL recommendations for good news feeds, comments by nerds with connected friends, etc... this story screamed a need for slashdot. news.google had 2700 stories in the story index earlier this evening.

And where the bleeding hell was slashdot? I have looked, but been unable to find any story on this. Did I miss it!?

By the way, WTF are the scuba-at-200-meters implications, since the scuba depth record is 300 meters... I'm sure cold and other issues are why one of these ultra-deep divers wasn't just flown out there to dive down with a hacksaw or 700 feet of air hose and an extension cord for power, but I'm curious, in case anyone knows.

And how is it possible that some other mechanism for rescue couldn't be deployed 700 vertical feet, including bladders capable of buoying up 70 tons, those dudes in the captain-nemo/Men-of-honor gear, or whatever. I understand 3000-12000 feet gets hellish, but are things truly that ugly 600' down?!

It took ages to scrounge up weathersat photos, I was nearly driven *mad* trying to keep track of times being reported in Eastern, GMT, Moscow, China, Kamchatka and a half-dozen other reference frames, I found some great quotes when I babelfished my way around some russian news sites (pravda.ru and a tv site... ntn?)... and throughout, I was a bit in awe of the fact that military aircraft from US and UK were given permission to fly into a soviet military base that is so restrictive that KAL-007 was shot down for coming within 50 miles of it.

(OK, on checking, KAL-007 got shot down near Sakhalin, after crossing Kamchatka... and why KAL-007 was shot down is a story full of surprises.)

A last thought: a couple hours ago, as the british sub started hacking away on cables, it finally occurred to me that a journal would have been better than nothing at trying to build a peer-discussion. By then, it was too late. But next time...

User Journal

Journal: Power and Character 4

Journal by ediron2
CleverNickName just did something ethical, and someone expressed mock shock to learn celebrities with ethics still existed.

Ages ago, heard an interview with Tom Clancey. When Hunt For Red October became famous, he privately mentioned to a well-connected friend that he was worried that the fame would get to him and he'd become a jerk.

Friend said, based on a lifetime of watching a *lot* of DC's powerful both before and after they became powerful, that power didn't destroy character. It *revealed* character. People that became jerks simply lacked grace or class and had been hiding that flaw under a veneer until they felt they no longer needed to.

That said, watch yourself carefully for a few days. Almost everyone I know has great and horrible moments. Last weekend, getting gas at some c-store at 5am, I watched a customer turn into a pit-viper, verbally slashing the clerk that had screwed stuff up a bit. I watched the whole thing, and from a to z, it made sense:

  • Customer was cranky for being up early, or late, or whatever.
  • Clerk was giving the job the minimum of his $6/hr or whatever worth of attention. He was either asleep, a dolt, or didn't care at all.
  • Customer used it as an excuse to overreact.

So, sometimes outside factors kick in.

Fame lets you get away with a lot (you would not believe how silly celebrities can get w/r/t ordering off the menu or making other absurd requests). It also puts you under a vicious microscope: eventually, the misdeeds get published.

User Journal

Journal: A funny phone-spam comment

Journal by ediron2

Not much surprises me in tactics for handling unwanted phone-spam, but this response to telemarketers made me laugh...

Any more, I just blurt out "Sorry-not-interested-Please-take-this-number-off-your-list- Don't-call-again-'bye!" and hang up. Otherwise, if I'm in a mood where pickin' the wings off something helpless seems fun, I use 'em for social engineering experimentation, make sounds intended to scare them into calling 9-1-1, or just say 'yeah, hold on..." and set the phone down until they hang up.

User Journal

Journal: Well, that didn't turn out like I wanted...

Journal by ediron2
Well, crap. That didn't turn out like I wanted... Screwed up in reverse, we used to call this.

I'm getting modded up 'insightful' for a bit of side advice. Story is 'side jobs', someone muttered about their hellish job and how they drink a lot and are updating their resume, and I gave them a bullet list of 'GET OUT' and similar advice. And I forgot to throw in context (I almost always add it in, but this one was meant to be a side remark).

I wonder if this sucker's just destined to climb up just high enough to get shit-kicked all the way back down to zero for being off topic or inflammatory. And I *liked* my message. I just didn't expect it to ever mod higher than 1 or 2.

Incidentally, if you're working in some sweatshop, or married to a pager, or anyone hints you're not appreciated/respected, or whatever, read the comment: move on, there are better jobs out there. If you don't know *how* to find them, the magic word is that people-skill 'Networking'. No, cisco expertise isn't what I'm talkin' about. Start hanging with a 'leet crowd any way you can, callin' businesses and geeks directly. The magic question isn't 'do you have a job', it's 'Do you know anyone else that could help me out?' Take notes, call back regularly, and try to grow that network to 50 contacts. It isn't rocket science, and the 10% raise I've gotten every time I transitioned jobs has me wondering if I'm not overdue to go jobhunting again.

Then again... I love my job.

User Journal

Journal: Sorry I crashed Genesis. I meant well...

Journal by ediron2
I confess... I did this. Mea Culpa, Mea culpa, my bad.

Some friends and I got the idea a few weeks ago, and over beers and pizza we rigged up some corrugated pipe and wire, made our own half-pipe antenna, hacked the Genesis telemetry, and figured out some of the needed parameters to change. Disabling the chutes was easy enough, but we apparently we screwed up a decimal when we altered the trajectory.

We were aiming for 40.34N, 111.72W(I've rounded the answer to avoid turning Darl's house into a Geocache target again). I figured at $260 Million, it'd be a bargain. What is that, like $3 apiece for every annoyed nerd that'd get back to concentrating on something useful?

User Journal

Journal: If goatse.cx disappears, does it remain?

Journal by ediron2

I made some snide remark about goatse.cx on a recent posting, and someone said it was down.

First reaction was: 'good. Finally.'

Second was 'aside from first-time visits and whatever tiny percentage of the world it is that likes that sort of thing, who would ever go back to notice?!' (or admit it, SGFCA...)

Third was the metaphysics question. Ignoring the above contingents (a big if, considering The September that never ended effects -- 5 billion goatse.cx newbies out there):

Even if goatse.cx remains down... can it ever go down? I mean, it's not like we'll notice, that the joke loses strength, or that most of us would ever revisit *that* link.

It has transcended the internet. We're *stuck* with a fear and loathing of a URL that may not work. Hell, that makes it more offensive than spam, in my hierarchy of loathing. Like r.h.g's green golf ball joke, it'll be with me until I die.

Strange, how the things I dislike teach me more about myself than most things I like.

PS: am not happy with the question or the title, but I'll be damned if I can fix them at this early hour. Oh, and the last 'graf tickles at a famous quote...

User Journal

Journal: Slashdotted? hardly

Journal by ediron2
Well, Aug 12, and Salt Lake's paper (SLTrib?!) has an insider selling article. Linked to slashdot, it's fat with comments. I'm not even going to chime in. These notes aren't in order enough to do more than a rough paraphrase...

As the numbers below show, it's not exactly a pandemic level of selling. And if I had 50k to 200k shares that were up from pennies to ten bucks, I'd be selling incrementally via a scheduled sale like this.

Reminds me of a kid from Canada... I'll have to go find that stuff and tuck it in here, but he rode the dot-com wave to become one of Canada's 10 wealthiest people. His stock then tanked. Imagine being 27, a billionaire, and having listened to family members (mom) about not getting greedy... only to see your net worth fall to $10M. Tragic.

So far, I'm not seeing enough numbers to believe this is a pump-n-dump. Still, I'd still wager there's a lot more room downward than upward for SCOX stock.

User Journal

Journal: August 11 SCOX insider notes

Journal by ediron2

August 7 and 11:

Robert Bench has dumped 7000 shares at $10.9 ($76k in a day). CFO, leaves him with 221,043 shares.

Reginald Broughton has dumped 4000 shares at 12.57 ($50k in a day). He's the Senior VP of International Sales, and that leaves him 120,000 shares.

On a more pleasant note, SCOX stock took a 13% drop today. This is merely pleasant because I still haven't found a way to leverage a short-sell of SCOX shares to get me to a good profit point. Had I already simply short-sold stock to the level I'd thought of ($10k in shares), today would have been a fun day!

Linux Business

Journal: SCO shortselling 1

Journal by ediron2
I say we need a Journal Topic of "SCO vs. Everyone Sane", Taco!

By now, everyone is familiar with the umbrella corp that seems to have created shares in SCO, used them to purchase another Web Development (?) firm, then sell them off. Classic pump & dump methodology, eh?

Additionally, July 24 saw a huge number of insider trades. Info from SCO seems freshest (anyone know anything better?)

http://ir.sco.com

Here's what they seem to summarize to:

  • Robert K. Bench, CFO, had 232593 shares on 7/8/03, sold down to 228043.
  • BROUGHTON REGINALD CHARLES, Sr VP Int'l Sales, 7/8/2003 had 151210, sold down to 150000. That's 5000 shares, or $55k at 10.9.
  • Jeff F. Hunsaker, VP Worldwide Marketing, had 30294 shares 7/9, sold down to 25494.
  • Kimberly Steele does the signing.
  • Mike Olson, VP Finance, had 65730 shares 7/11, sold down to 58830 shares.
  • WILSON MICHAEL SEAN, Sr VP Corp Dev, exercised options on 6000 shares (strike of $0.66!), then sold them instantly, earning him the badge for being a VP smart enough to have ZERO risk when this ponzi scheme crashes.
  • Woo-Woo! Wilson again on the 15th, same numbers LITERALLY THE NEXT DAY. 6000 exercised at 66 cents, sold at over $10. Net another 60 grand. Not a bad weekend, Wilson!
  • Hunsaker again, on 7/9, selling 5000 at $11.x Same day, different filing. Turns out I misread the filings so most of those initial share counts are actually lower than I reported. I'll fix 'em tomorrow.
  • Raimondi, Thomas P, a Director, Exercised 10k shares at $6.13. Who wants to bet he sold 'em by month's end!?
  • Cakebread, Stephen, a Director, Exercised 10k at $4.75. Place yer bets!
  • Iaccobucci, Edward E, a Director, on 5/16, exercising 10k at $4.75.
  • Duff Thompson (not sure what order that name goes), exercising 10k shares at $4.75 on 5/16. Kimberly Steele still signatory.
  • Yarro, Ralph, Director, on 5/16, exercising 10k option shares at $4.75.
  • Mott, Darcy G, Director, on 5/16, exercising 10k shares at $4.75... getting bored here...
  • Reggie's back, selling 15000 shares on 7/22, at $13 or so. Leaves him with 130,000 shares that can zero out on him. Let's all join hands and pray, my fellow slashdotters!
  • Hunsaker, 7/23, 5000 shares sold at $13.x, leaves him with 20,494 shares.

... hmm... Kevin Skousen, a SCO Director, didn't actually strike his options, he just got granted 45000 shares at 10 bucks, exercisable immediately. Man, if that isn't a submarine option price just begging to happen. In my last /. comment, I said he'd exercised 'em. My bad.

Hell, that's just the headlines on page 1. We'll have to go back to the beginning of this timeline and do some cruel/ugly number crunching, find indications of inter-corporate shell gaming, etc. For now, I'm off to read financial pages and find me a comfortable way to short (or Put-Option) these guys. Unlike the time I bought 5 microsoft shares just so I could enjoy their fate either way, win or lose, I'll only be happy when SCOX returns to the penny-stock pages it so recently occupied.

If anyone wants to help, feel free to continue reading backwards thru SCO's SEC Filings page and append details. Commentary is ok, but we'll quickly want to put this into spreadsheets and start drawing pretty pictures (like time-vs-profit, buying/selling plans-vs-lawsuit (an insider act, hopefully), and anything else that makes a nice case to investors that these guys really know which way the legal course will flow and the market's gonna run. The greatest enemy of evil is always the widespread dissemination of information.

--advaitavedanta

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

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