The Null Device

2002/6/11

An interesting article looking at the potential of UNIX shell script viruses. Shell scripts run on many architectures, and (along with C compilers) can be used to custom-build exploits and rootkits for the specific platform; while no such virus has been wildly successful yet, the potential is there.

(Of course, there's an easy way to defang many of them: remove the C compiler from your servers/front-line machines, which would make building exploits rather impossible. A malicious script could still download precompiled exploits from a website; though if you run your servers on something weird, it may not be able to find one; if crackers had to precompile exploits, they would probably go mostly after the 95% of machines which run Red Hat Linux on a x86 or something equally common.)

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Centrelink, Australia's social security office will start sending SMS messages to clients, reminding them to attend job interviews. Of course, the next logical progression from this (which the Liberal Party should love) would be to integrate this with mobile phone tracking/triangulation, to keep track of dole recipients; much like those bracelets they put on home-detention inmates, only the client pays for the technology. If they leave the 5km radius of their home or registered appointments, or enter an off-limits area during business hours, their benefits get cut off until they wait in queue, grovel and fill in forms. After all, dole recipients are parasites, the philosophy goes, and the experience of receiving welfare should be made as humiliating as possible. And with the government's new telecommunications intereception bill, giving a wide range of government agencies the power to intercept people's communications without a warrant in the name of Fighting Terrorism, this could be possible.

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US authorities have arrested an al-Qaeda terrorist, apparently foiling a plan to attack the US with "dirty bombs", raining radioactive death on millions. Abdullah al-Mujahir, also known as José Padilla, was arrested in Chicago in May after arriving on a flight from Pakistan. Er, hang on; José Padilla? Wasn't he the guy who put together those Café Del Mar chill-out CDs? (Maybe that's why he left that project...)

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So what did I do this weekend, you ask? Well, today I spent much of the day installing Debian 3.0 on my Linux box. It looks quite doovy (it has a lot of packages), and it's about time I replaced the patched-over RedHat 6.x setup it was.

Yesterday I caught up with Nick and Naomi of Dandelion Wine. They brought a CD of some of their new material; it's sounding very good, in a trancy, somewhat Delerium-esque sort of way. (I'll probably have MP3s to share on Circle once they give me a copy.)

I'm looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. (Note: that was irony.)

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