Busy times, crazy life.

It's been a really busy week or two so I haven't had time to write much. I realize that it's only common sense, but I still find it amusing that I have the least time to write about what's going on when the most is happening. Funny, how that happens. Anyway, once the opportunity presents itself I like sitting down to make an attempt at describing everything that's been happening. I've mostly been posting hit and run messages to Twitter lately (like everybody else on the planet these days) because I can do that without looking up from everything else …

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Crackers leak climate research e-mail, possibly to manipulate public opinion.

The argument over whether or not the global climate is getting warmer or cooler due to the actions of humanity has been going fast and hard ever since someone claimed back in the 1960's that average temperatures were getting cooler...

Did I say 'cooler'? I meant 'warmer'. Back when I was in high school (in the first half of the 1990's) and into today the concern was over whether or not the globe was getting warmer, and if you haven't been paying attention to the television this has been a campaign point in the last few presidential elections.

If that …

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Gary McKinnon to be extradited to the US.

Just a few days ago it was made official – eccentric systems cracker Gary McKinnon, known as the UFO Hacker by the news media has lost his final appeal and will be extradited to the United States to stand trial. If convicted, McKinnon is looking at 70 years in federal prison for compromising 97 computer networks operated by the US Department of Defense in his quest to prove that UFOs exist. Federal prosecutors claim that McKinnon’s actions may have interfered with their response to the events of 9/11, though there is little to no evidence supporting their claim …

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What hath the fabulists wrought?

It’s long been said that science fiction predicts, or at least inspires some of the things which we take for granted every day. While the exact origins of the genre could be debated until the cows come home (and they most certainly are in some circles), it was some time during the 17th century c.e. during the Age of Reason in which people really began to write stories in which the advances of the time were their inspiration. Great voyages by sailing ship and fanciful aircraft were taken to regions of the globe which had only been seen …

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This isn't quite a William Gibson/Near Stephenson cyberpunk world, but you can see the lights of it from here.

There's a certain feeling a system admin gets when they find out that one of their boxen has been pwned. You can't really compare it to anything else but it seems to combine the worst symptoms of cardiac arrest, realizing that someone's just shot at you and not missed, being busted by military police while carrying, and discovering that you slept through your thesis defense. A personal website falling is bad enough, but when you're talking about an operation that's worth six or seven digits in American dollars you just know that heads were rolling.

Over the weekend a post …

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A week after the VPMP deadline.

A little more information on the recent compromise of the VPMP and subsequent ransom demand has hit the wires since Wikileaks.org broke the news almost two weeks ago. It was admitted that the VPMP's information security measures were not all they were cracked up to be, as if this would come as a surprise to anyone. The article mentions that a backup system did not appear to be in place, nor a properly configured firewall to control traffic from the public Net. Governor of Virginia Timothy Kaine tried to save face by playing up the countermeasures in place and …

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Fjalar Ravia, requisat en pace.

I just returned home a few minutes ago from celebrating the greater feast of someone whom I have admired greatly for a number of years.

Fjalar Ravia, better known to the hacker community as Fravia+, was a master of reverse engineering software. Not just for cracking the copy protection of games but reverse engineering for the purpose of figuring out how code works for the sake of doing so. He was also known for his skill at crafting search engine queries to uncover the damndest things in the deep web. Since 1995, he'd written an amazing number of tutorials on …

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Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program compromised - 8 million records held for ransom.

Yesterday morning, word got out through the Internet Storm Center that the web server of the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program was compromised by an unknown attacker. The VPMP is tasked with recording all of the pharmaceutical prescriptions filled in the state of Virginia for the purpose of data mining to determine who may or may not be abusing prescription drugs, and probably who may or may not be selling their prescriptions on the street. Given that Virginia enacted some annoying laws a couple of years ago that require a photo ID to get hold of Sudafed and placed limits on …

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WPA/TKIP partially broken?

Just when you thought it was safe to raise an antenna and go wireless again, along comes another attack to make you think twice. A pair of security researchers, Erik Tews and Martin Beck, will present a new attack against WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) at the PacSec conference next week. If you're not up on wireless network technologies, WPA is the system developed to secure wireless network traffic after WEP was found to be too insecure. The basic purpose of WPA is to encrypt all data traffic between a wireless client and an access point (modulo the control packets, of …

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Is a cold net.war going on between the US and China?

Every once in a while a news article about attempts to crack US military and government systems coming out of China or the Middle East hits the 'wires; rumors of groups of systems crackers belonging to the Air Force/United Nations/Department of Homeland Security/Microsoft/the Illuminati regularly make their rounds at hacker conventions. Military data nets are increasingly becoming targets of crackers from abroad, safe from prosecution and extradition because it's so difficult to start legal proceedings against someone you don't even know, let alone can grab by the scruff of the neck (police dramas and MLATs to …

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