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Hackers: a report on the Internet's vulnerabilities
November 29, 2001 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Hackers: a report on the Internet's vulnerabilities Anyone see the original broadcast of this PBS "Front Line" special? Any good? It airs again Nov. 29, 2001.
posted by fleener (11 comments total)

 
If this is a double post please someone start selling "double post" t-shirts so I can buy one.

Credit for the link goes to my dear ol' PBS-watching mum.
posted by fleener at 2:01 PM on November 29, 2001


Reid and Count Zero are members of the Cult of the Dead Cow, a hacker organization which developed "Back Orifice," a computer program which allows the user to remotely view and control any computer running Windows 95 or later. They say the developed the program to demonstrate the weak security in Microsoft products.


That's bullshit. The computer first has to have the server executed on their computer, whether by an idiot user, or someone who mistakenly downloaded and executed it whilst it was bound with another program.

Truth in reporting, I guess.
posted by trioperative at 2:07 PM on November 29, 2001


the weak security claim, triop, comes from allowing all users to essentially act as the "superuser" of a windows computer. you can add files anywhere you like; modify whatever you like. user stupidity aside, the everyone-as-superuser paradigm stinks. in unix, you may also be subject to some of the exploits that the back orifice program was an example of; back when a lot of people still used ircii, scripts would circulate that installed backdoors or trojans upon execution. the problem was so bad that some servers, out of kindness for their users in a way, reject your login attempts if your given username is "root" (the unix superuser). it's hard to destroy your entire computer logging in as only yourself (though the script could still, say, upload a copy of your password file for later cracking on a distant computer assuming no password changes since).
posted by moz at 2:27 PM on November 29, 2001


I had forgotten about IRC.
posted by trioperative at 3:01 PM on November 29, 2001


However, I was speaking specifically about Back Orifice. BO2k has the possibility of having a plugin written by a user that could do such things.
posted by trioperative at 3:04 PM on November 29, 2001


triop, the statement is factually correct, so your "bullshit" call was unnecessary. When they say any computer they mean that any computer is potentially controllable with the software installed, not that they can just fire it up and invade "any computer".

Geeks sure are sensitive about stuff written for general audiences ....
posted by dhartung at 4:26 PM on November 29, 2001


Most geeks, anyway dhartung.
posted by Katy Action at 4:47 PM on November 29, 2001


i find most people who post in these type of threads are geeks (me included)
posted by jmd82 at 5:42 PM on November 29, 2001


Um, does anybody have an opinion to offer in response to fleener's original question? The show's on tonight; is it worth watching?
posted by verdezza at 5:52 PM on November 29, 2001


a computer program which allows the user to remotely view and control any computer running Windows 95 or later

How much more clear cut can it get?
posted by trioperative at 9:51 PM on November 29, 2001


I am too late I guess. I thought the show was very well done. If you missed it on the 29th I am sure it will be on again.
posted by aj100 at 7:20 AM on November 30, 2001


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