Archive for September, 2001

A new Plucker Release

Plucker 1.1.13 release

    Not much to report, but we’ve released Plucker 1.1.13 today. Animated tutorials, Daily Dose, and some other things are coming.

    Translators needed

    So far, we have Czech,
    Danish,
    Deutsch,
    English,
    Faeroese,
    Français,
    Italiano,
    Japanese,
    Polska,
    and Simplified
    Chinese
    versions. We could use an Español version, and others as well.

    jacobo, did you want to do a Galacian
    translation for us?

    Anyone else? Instructions are here, or email me.

Hardware Death

    Laptop drive died, only 6 months old. Replaced with 48gb laptop drive (which, oddly enough, doesn’t do DMA, blecch) for only a mere $616.00 USD. This is my 4th drive in less than 2 years on these Thinkpads, and my third physical Thinkpad. I think
    something’s wrong in their controller.

Linuxcare Bootable Toolbox

    Found, documented, and closed some more bugs in our LBT
    today. A new release should arrive soon.

Work

    Work is… “confusing” of late.

Miscellaneous

    Being taken advantage of, and being taken for granted, sucks, and no amount of money or “dinners” can compensate for the damage that has already been done.

More on this as news develops… the East Coast is calling me, and I’m torn between two coasts.

Somthing Fishy This Way Comes

Mon Sep 24 21:14:35 PDT 2001
There’s something. My gut is never wrong. Mark this date. Something tomorrow.

Stopping malicious web spiders and Windows exploits with iptables

Stop it cold
Change your logfile names to suit.

#!/bin/sh 
##For whatever they're calling this one now
for LUSER in `grep "winnt" error.log | awk '{print $8}' | 
    sed -e s/]//`; do 
   if [ ! "`/sbin/iptables -L -n | grep $LUSER`" ]; then
      echo "Banning $LUSER with iptables";
      /sbin/iptables -A INPUT -s $LUSER -d 0/0 -j DROP
   fi 
done 

##For our friend CodeRed
for LUSER in `grep "default.ida" access.log | 
    awk '{print $1}' | sed -e s/]//`; do 
   if [ ! "`/sbin/iptables -L -n | grep $LUSER`" ]; then
      echo "Banning $LUSER with iptables";
      /sbin/iptables -A INPUT -s $LUSER -d 0/0 -j DROP
   fi 
done

Not everybody hates the United States

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Not everybody hates the United States

    I saw
    this
    , and this, was simply blown away. Let all the pictures load, it’s staggering.

    People may not like our president, people may not like our government, but I doubt very much that there is a single group of people who hates US citizens enough to smile at a time like this.

    I’ve changed my company homepage to something more fitting for the time being. I’ve posted in several places that there are ways to fight back. Note that there are still even more things you can use than I’ve written in that post. As
    my new page so eloquently explains, this type of “surprise” won’t happen twice.

    I’m still collecting pictures from the tragedy. I’m over 1,200 of them now and growing.

    If anyone else hasn’t caught this, Massood has been murdered. He was the leader of the people in the northern Takhar province of Afghanistan. In short, he was holding together the remaining 5% of the country that the Taliban hadn’t managed to overthrow. Now two suicide cameramen have taken him out. This spells planning.

Limbs of no body; World’s indifference to the Afghan tragedy

    I’ve Pluckerized it for easy reading. You can grab that here. The original article can be found here

    “Why was the World Trade Center attacked? Here are some answers” (from a post on craigslist)

Life Changes

    Things are going to change soon. Plans are in place. I just need to muster up enough confidence to do what I have to. Today brought about many hours of deep thought with myself, going over all of the options. I now know what lies ahead.

pilot-link

    Many people have been offering me some interesting suggestions and ideas for what they believe the next generation pilot-link should look like. I’m working on some of my own ideas as well that expand upon many of these suggestions. This should be fun, but I’m sure my timelines don’t map against what everyone else wants. I had an interesting architecture discussion on irc tonight with another fellow pilot-link user. Lots of great ideas came out of it. I’m somewhat recharged.

    ..but whatever happened to that promise of “Work on open source projects, and get paid for it!” that I was given before I threw my 5-year career at $PREVJOB away. I haven’t worked on a single open source project at
    $CURJOB since I started. It’s depressing. I had more time to work on open source projects when I was working in a completely non-open source job.

Life

    You know what’s really depressing, pouring out your heart, your health, your soul, and your dollars for everyone else but yourself. When you take one microsecond to think of yourself, you’re guilty. I can’t possibly give more than I’m giving to those who are bleeding me. How about giving back some. How about a “Thank you” once in awhile. I get nothing.

    Giving my health, sleep time, spare time, weekends, and everything else I can give to people and still being told that I should be doing more, makes me… unhappy. I am certainly not being farily compensated for my work or my contributions, only persecuted. Everything I do goes unnoticed, and it’s never enough.

    When do I get to take some time for me… for ME!. Everything is always taken away. To quote KoRN: “..somethings raped and taken from me, from me…“. My vacation to Greece is now tanked. I can’t even get away just to get away. My apartment isn’t far enough away to relax now.

    I can’t even think right now, I’m so… damaged.

Away I go.

The War on Corrupt Governments

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my 1993 Prediction Arrives

    Back in 1993, after the WTC bombing in the basement/parking garage, I made a prediction about what the terrorists were trying to do to the two towers (domino them), which only now people are realizing. Thanks for irc logs. In any case, there was a manufactured attack to try to take out one of the corners of the WTC and topple it into
    the other. Bold move, but failed… then.

    This time it worked, though with a bit of a topside attack. Let’s break this down to dissuade the people who have questions:

    • The WTC towers (North and South) were designed to withstand the impact equal to a 747 smashing into the side or corner of either of them at any height (this will
      become important in a moment).

    • Each of the towers could lose up to 1/2 of two sides and still remain standing.
    • The building was equipped with a fire suppression system which can stop fires from becoming bigger. A multi-floor fire requires the fire department to extinguish, not a sprinkler system.
    • The framing of both towers was built in a “lattice framework”, which means that external floor to ceiling bracing was used in exchange for an internal open floor plan.
    • Engineering spaces were placed at every 10 floors to halt or slow collapse of upper floors.

    That being said, let’s go through why the towers collapsed. When Plane_1 hit the building flat on, it created a gaping hole which severed the internal sprinkler system and began to burn. This caused a breach in the “lattice” system previously mentioned. Ideally this would have been of no great impact to the integrity of the upper floors, and normally the building would have remained standing. Except… enter a nearly-full tank of highly flammable jet fuel to the mix. Internal sprinklers (i.e. water) were not designed to handle the extinguishing of a fuel fire. Steel melts and begins to soften under the heat of this fire. Once the top of the structure starts to “peel” away, the whole tower collapses under it’s own design, internally. If you saw the footage of the actual collapse, you would see the exact motion of the latticework cleanly “peeling” the building down.

    The foundation of the building itself would have been another issue entirely, and had either of the two towers remained standing, their foundation would have been irreparably damaged anyway, but people would have survived, for the most part, and the tower(s) would have remained standing.

    The second collision (Plane_2) was much more “caustic” in that they hit the corner of the building, and nearly punched a hole right into it. Again, the live footage shows the plane accellerating and pulling “into” the building (anyone who has raced cars on a track knows the feeling of coming off the wall into the “negative G” environment, where you actually accellerate as you pull inwards). They basically tore the plane in two, wing first, which ignited the fuel in a much more spectacular burst. Again, add highly flammable (steel-softening) burning jet fuel to the mix and you have the same effect that was in the first tower.

    This day was tragic, and there are still people we know missing and unaccounted for. I spent a lot of time talking to a lot of people about nearly every single issue around this attack. Here’s some of the highlights and assumptions so far (and please don’t flame me here, take it into private email).

    • These were professionals. This was not a one-off attack with a van in front of a Federal building. This was a well-executed, surgical attack on multiple sites, simultaneously.
    • This took planning. Not days, not weeks, not months. This must have clearly been years in the making. Before you disagree, consider what it takes to:
      1. Train the hijackers/pilots in basic and probably
        advanced airline flight techniques, should it become necessary to divert/land/crash the plane if something goes wrong or right.

      2. Fly them into the U.S. and get them “anonymized” into our workplace, the airlines, the ground crew, etc.
      3. Forge paperwork and identification, including clearance badges, licensing, passports, etc.
      4. Infiltrate many facets of the airline industry from ground crew to flight attendants.
      5. Sneak weapons of the type which would have alerted security into the galley of the plane (assuming of course they didn’t go through the
        metal detectors with fellow conspirators waving them through). Eye-witness and cell phones recorded from the plane indicated blades not bullets.

      6. Have the schedules interleave to the point where two westbound planes would be in the air, at the same time, below cruising altitude, near the WTC, and not grounded, with both power and crew sufficiently “stacked” to
        perpetrate a hijack. At the same time, have hijackers already in the air on other flights, not grounded, which are also below cruising altitude within range of the Pentagon and
        Pittsburgh targets. Anyone who has tried to make connecting flights or arrange overlapping single-night stays in a rollover city knows how much of a nightmare this must be. Try doing this with 6 people on 6 separate flights in 3 states simultaneously.

      7. Communicate and coordinate this attack so effectively and covertly that our own “powerful” intelligence agency can’t even find or track you, even though we were warned several times by groups in the Middle East of an impending attack.
    • This comes on the same exact day that 10 years ago,
      George Bush Sr. told Saddam that his actions would not be tolerated, September 11th, 1991.

    This was not an “off-the-cuff” attack, this took training, resources, forgery, conspiracy
    on many levels, financing, and lots and lots of planning. It was surgical. Not many groups can claim to have this level of organization, funding, and manpower.

    We do not yet know who
    perpetrated these crimes, and it is still very early to say that they were not of any particular group. lilo may have his own opinion, but that is what it is, an opinion.

    Let’s break this down further in a political regard. When the news hit and the towers collapsed, hundreds of people were seen dancing in Palestine, celebrating” the “victory” over the “Satanic Americans”. Many people (U.S. citizens and the president himself) are still saying that this attack was unsuccessful, and I wholeheartedly d sagree. It was 100%
    successful in it’s goal, and executed 75% flawlessly (the Pittsburgh flight was downed either intentionally by a heroic pilot, or by an escorting F16 American fighter). They successfully
    infiltrated, hijacked, and destroyed the 4 airplanes they intended to board and destroy, and in the process, took out two of our very substantial buildings, and cut a hole in the Pentagon. And… they struck terror.

    “Why not hit something more valuable?” you say…

    What could be more valuable than hitting us in the two areas that “represent” us to the world, Capitalism and Defense. They see these two buildings as symbols of their own hatred. They could
    have hit the Statue of Liberty, but they didn’t. They successfully put the whole country on sleep(n). As logic put it so well:

    “…Terrorists of the world have just been sent a message: the same tactics used elsewhere in the world work even more effectively here, because we’re so completely unfamiliar with the concept, we don’t know how to react. Look at the country right now: we’ve effectively shut down for the day. Trading has stopped. Flights are landed. Borders are closed. People are hiding…”

    The terrorists succeeded… in causing terror. This attack was incredibly smart, though short. Any war buffs would see some flaws, and try to
    improve the design (second wave with bombs on grounded planes/buildings after airlines were ordered under lockdown, etc.). They stopped mail, UPS, most businesses, the U.S. stock exchange, and travellers from getting from point A to point B. That in my eyes is not a failure.

    But we should not glorify or celebrate it!. This is what fuels them. They want us to make noise about it. It gives the terrorists purpose. When people are scared, they win. If everyone on a plane was allowed to carry a concealed weapon, would these things happen? (yes, allowing that has a host of other bad issues as baggage with it, but let’s stick to fear and terror for a moment). I suspect people would be stronger-willed if they knew they had a fighting chance
    against this. Currently, we don’t. How do you know the person you’re sitting next to on your next flight isn’t a “plant” for some faction or extremist group? You don’t. Nor do I.

    Back to celebrating for a moment… one message I’ve seen today captures some of my own feelings.

    “Essentially, the people who are cheering about this have made it clear that they think it’s a great thing. If they think this is a great thing, we know that, while they might be *unable* to do it, they would if they could.

    It’s hard to have any sympathy for them, given that. Does this justify Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in general? No, but it makes it a lot easier to understand.

    Just think about it. Try to imagine someone whose first response
    to ten thousand innocent bystanders being killed is to say “It’s like I’m dreaming, it’s so wonderful”. What possible grounds can we have for not shooting this rabid dog? He has gone beyond any possible redemption on this earth.

    Israel has, so far as I can tell, *responded* to acts of violence. Maybe the violent people should stop for a while, and see if the retaliation stops, too.”

    And another…

    “…Maybe, just maybe, the people who are bombing innocents *aren’t* actually the victims in this picture. You can bet I
    am less willing now than ever before to believe the palestinian people to be “victims” of anything but their own bloodlust. People who cheer and dance at the news that ten thousand
    innocent people are dead are *sick*, and if those are the people being “repressed”, then it’s not such a bad thing…”

    How can we feel “sympathy” towards a country of “repressed” people who celebrates the death of innocent thousands of people? I am enraged, and vengeance is on the tip of my tongue, but in this case, vengeance solves nothing. How can
    you curtail a country or group of people (again, making assumptions about the terrorists and terrorism in this particular case being Middle East-driven) when they themselves don’t value
    human life, their own or ours. Levying sanctions doesn’t help, nor does bombing their streets. What drives this hatred? How do you break down and shake hands with someone who wants to blow you up simply because you are not them?

    I am angry, many lives were lost, and we are going to feel this for years to come. What may be heading our way, whether we like it or not, is the entrance of technology which strips us of our freedoms. Facial scanners in airports, bus terminals, train stations. While I support the implementation of CCD cameras in the cockpit and cabin areas (I’ve said that for years now), I do not support the use of them for “tracking” or for “regulation. We have the black box, why not a black-and-white CCD camera to stream back (live) the events in the cabin to the ground for every flight. Storage is cheap, bandwidth is (mostly) cheap, and the benefits for this would be immense in a situation like this.

    “Regulated” cryptography. Censorship, monitoring. All of this does absolutely nothing to stop or slow terrorism. To John Q. Public, who knows nothing, they’ll jump on this as a way to implement technology they don’t understand in a way they can’t manage properly.

    This was a difficult, professional attack that took elite personnel; something entirely different from the regular street crime our police face every day. They successfully hijacked four commercial passenger aircraft in one day, without a single failed attempt. They bypassed some of the toughest security civilians are subject to. The calibre of terrorist that must have done this will be unfettered by attempts to control gun ownership, internet usage, cryptography or many other laws. Let’s hope this doesn’t “accidentally” force us into a police state.

    We must move on, tomorrow is another day. The longer we dwell on this, the deeper the “wound” they’ve
    created for us has time to fester and infect. We are Americans and we are resiliant (non-Americans, I am speaking specifically of the damage done on our soil, not of the citizenship, please pardon the metaphor here).

    There’s so much more I could say, but you can catch me in email if you want to talk about this further. I have amassed 983 images from hundreds of sites and people of this incident, and will be making some sort of webpage public with them on it. Time to get familiar with phpics I suppose.

    I purposely did not touch on the religion aspect of this, because that’s a discussion that will go on for decades. My belief, which is probably not shared by many, is that a religion is a
    belief system, and one which does not have to include a “God” or “supreme being”. Some people do things for religion, some people do things for beliefs, and some do things for other reasons.
    This could be any of those, and people have been persecuted for their beliefs, their religions, and for their choice in basketball sneakers. This is not about religion. Not now.

    This is
    tragic, but we will heal.

    My girlfriend had a very weird dream on Sunday night, that she was in a plane and another plane took off and flew over her plane and one of the engines broke off the other plane and started flying back towards her plane. She said she “watched” the engine fall back and peel the top off of her plane, ripping it open like a can of sardines. She struggled to buckle her seatbelt to stay in, and then woke up. Ironically, I was in the dream, already belted, which is something I never ever do.

    I wonder if she’s beginning to adopt my prophetic dreamstate now.

I will not dream tonight

CodeRed Replication

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CodeRed Replication

    500 infections total so far on one of my externally-facing machines,

    376 of them in the past 24 hours. The remaining 124 hits were stagnant for two weeks. I can’t believe Microsoft is touting that there haven’t been any newly infected computers in 72 hours.

    Grab this IIS Shutdown Countermeasures cgi script and help try to stop the replication.

    I’m working on an update to patch these servers at request time. NT and Windows 2000 both have tftp clients. All I need to do is set up a tftp server on my box, and use root.exe to grab the patch from my tftp server and install it. Need to test that first though.

    I posted an interesting conspiracy theory on this one (09/05/2001: updated link because Slashdot changed their comment URI format).

    We could have infected every vulnerable machine in the
    world in 15 minutes
    if it were written a bit differently.

    I get DSL (finally!) and now every provider is under a Denial of Service attack thanks to CodeRed and SirCam. Lovely. Back to dialup performance on a DSL connection.

    Microsoft: What was that you were saying again about Linux being viral?

    Oh wait, if we all ran WinXP, this probably wouldn’t have happened, right?

/dev/urandom

    Much more work to be done on too many projects.

Hacking on Uber Secret Project #247

I’ve just started hacking on a new project. Nothing really new to report yet, but it’s already 100% functional after 5 hours of hacking code together and did I mention it works!

This will be tres cool when I’m done in a few days.

Bad Behavior has blocked 562 access attempts in the last 7 days.