Should award stand?
April 3, 2003 8:39 PM   Subscribe

Some ten months ago, Tim Lutero's weblog was hacked and all the entries were erased. The person allegedly responsible for the hack is a weblogger who won 'Highly Commended' status in Guardian Unlimited's 'Best British Blog' competition six months ago. If the allegations can be proven, should this award stand?
posted by JettSuperior (46 comments total)
I don't get it -- how does he know it was her and not just some rabid fan of her site that did the defacement?
posted by malphigian at 8:48 PM on April 3, 2003

Yeah, is the front page of Metafilter really the place to air someone's unproven allegations?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:51 PM on April 3, 2003

If the allegations can be proven, should this award stand?

Why not?
posted by delmoi at 8:55 PM on April 3, 2003

Green Fairy is a great blog and entirely deserves the Guardian award, imo. Thanks!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:58 PM on April 3, 2003

I grieve for Lutero, it must have been heartbreaking, I've been there...but I also work in information security, and have the experience that very often an anonymous soul does bad things online bearding behind someone else's identity.

Before all of us go meta-medieval on the "green fairy" wouldn't we benefit from understanding the evidence that proves that this person is, in fact, guilty as charged? Headers? Log files? Sworn depositions? Web cam footage of her in the act?

Gah. I suppose we could use an Internet court of some sort...but if we didn't get one through hella flame wars during two decades of USENET...I don't suppose we ever will.
posted by Dunvegan at 9:04 PM on April 3, 2003

If the allegations can be proven, should this award stand?

She didn't win the Miss America pagent fer god sakes. It was a honourable mention in a UK newspaper, not an olympic medal.

Plus all the stuff about it being unproven in the first place...
posted by mathowie at 9:18 PM on April 3, 2003

it would help if greenfairy would comment on this. her silence is deafening.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:32 PM on April 3, 2003

Admittedly, I don't know all of the ins and outs of this situation. I don't know how much proof is there or how much isn't. The question posed just happened to be the first one to come to mind upon reading his entry about losing two years' worth of writing, supposedly at the hands of another weblogger.

You know, someone who should respect the 'sanctity of the medium' and all that shite.
posted by JettSuperior at 9:45 PM on April 3, 2003

I foolishly forgot to delete the mt-load.cgi file from my webserver, which allowed her to gain access.

Foolish is right. Now allow me to quote some chapter and verse from the MovableType installation instructions.

Failure to remove mt-load.cgi could enable someone else to create a weblog in your Movable Type installation, and possibly gain access to your data. FAILURE TO DELETE mt-load.cgi INTRODUCES A MAJOR SECURITY RISK. So you should delete it now.

Sure, the hacking (if it happen'd) was immature and uncalled for, but he left the door wide open. He left the keys in the ignition. He left the...

Oh, you don't need anymore analogies here, do you?
posted by grabbingsand at 9:48 PM on April 3, 2003

Sure, the hacking (if it happen'd) was immature and uncalled for

This isn't even hacking. If I were the hackee, I'd be confessing and politely starting back up. For gosh sake, people google for these things (filenames that can be used to wreak badness)! Remember the Graymatter bookmarklet exploit?

The conclusions that have been drawn are a non sequiter in the extreme.
posted by j.edwards at 9:58 PM on April 3, 2003

I see your point, XQUZYPHYR. My late night semantics are not all they should be. Perhaps the unlocked door analogy is a bad fit, but that doesn't change the fact that the instructions clearly state that leaving that particular file is a security risk -- not just once, but a handful of times, just to get the point across. And even if he missed the manual's advice, the file in question (a script that builds the base MT data) reminds the user (after execution) of the risk taken by not deleting it. It asks to be deleted.

So yes, the violation of his intellectual property was wrong, but it never would've happen'd if he would have followed instructions.

Still, awful nice that Ben Trott, one of MT creators, helped him reclaim his data.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:13 PM on April 3, 2003

Even if green fairy is proven to be responsible, the ramifications are entirely separate to how good her blog is. The high placement in the Guardian listing should stand regardless, Matt's comment notwithstanding.

Should the artist of the year have their award removed if it's proven they're a serial killer? In my opinion absolutely not. (I'm not comparing hacking with murder, by the way.)
posted by nthdegx at 10:53 PM on April 3, 2003

Unless it's THAT sort of hacking.
posted by seanyboy at 10:57 PM on April 3, 2003

Should the artist of the year have their award removed if it's proven they're a serial killer?

Apples and oranges. Your question should have been, "Should the artist of the year have their award removed if it's proven that they're running around destroying the art of others because it offends them in some way?"

In that case, my answer would more than likely be an unequivocal YES.
posted by JettSuperior at 11:05 PM on April 3, 2003

grabbingsand, you're grasping at straws...Just because you have the opportunity to steal fifty bucks left lying around on a table doesn't justify doing it, or make it any less a criminal act. The issue is whether or not it was Green Fairy, and if it wasn't, I don't see any reason why the accused party wouldn't dispute the claim.

Let's get ready to rumble...
posted by chrisgregory at 11:23 PM on April 3, 2003

if it wasn't, I don't see any reason why the accused party wouldn't dispute the claim.

Stayin' above the fray. If I got an e-mail one day accusing me of hacking, I wouldn't respond. It's obviously someone who doesn't deserve a reply.

Of course, if they *did* hack, I would expect them to deny it.
posted by j.edwards at 11:27 PM on April 3, 2003

JettSuperior: well, how about this. An artits wins an award, and another artist insults him. Later, the second artists work is destroyed with the message "First artist owns j00". Should the award be taken away?

But really this is just a childish accusation. I love how the guy wanted movable type to kill this girls account to, some people just seem to think the world just revolves around them.
posted by delmoi at 12:43 AM on April 4, 2003

Just read Tim Lutero's weblog. Whilst I have every sympathy with what happened to him, you can't help but hate the guy's moaning "everybody's out to get me" attitude. He says - I never imagined that anyone, especially a woman with a British accent, could do something so malicious.
(1) Get a life Tim.
(2) If your words are so important to you, then DO A BACKUP.

re: "Should the artist of the year have their award removed if it's proven that they're running around destroying the art of others because it offends them in some way?"
Absolutely not.
If Jack Nicolson got in an argument with, and then beat up Leonardo di Caprio, and if Leonardo di Caprio was unable to work because of his extensive bruising, then should we take Jack's Oscars off him?
posted by seanyboy at 12:56 AM on April 4, 2003

I do not have a blog of my own so cannot truly comment on how this would feel but is this bloke not taking itself a little too seriously?

It's a webpage. Somebody tried to delete some files you created which they shouldn't have but luckily you managed to get most of them back. Stop throwing your toys out of the pram. It strikes me he's just kicking up about this to give his blog some attention... It's worked I suppose.
posted by jontyjago at 12:57 AM on April 4, 2003

Oh, and Jett. Just noticed that you're on Tim's blogroll. If you've got any personal links with the man, you should maybe state them before asking questions / stating opinions on this subject. I'd like to know if this is personal, or more of a general question.
posted by seanyboy at 1:00 AM on April 4, 2003

The issue is whether or not it was Green Fairy, and if it wasn't, I don't see any reason why the accused party wouldn't dispute the claim.

So, guilty until proven innocent then?
posted by walrus at 1:28 AM on April 4, 2003

This isn't even hacking. If I were the hackee, I'd be confessing and politely starting back up.

Yeah,.. I agree. We all know that morals can be bypassed if the crime is easy to commit.

posted by ed\26h at 1:37 AM on April 4, 2003

I have no sympathy for Lutero. He made a libellous statement that has unfairly painted Jaqueline as a hacker. On the other hand, Green Fairy looks like an interesting blog. JettSuperior, should this really have been posted?
posted by salmacis at 2:33 AM on April 4, 2003

Green Fairy's response. Which undeafens some of that silence...

Now I have absolutely no idea whether she is indeed an evil hacker with mad skillz if you actually read her blog, it does seem a mite farfetched.

I also can't quite work out why she found out all about this from Tim Lutero's post, and why he didn't drop her a line before.
posted by Hartster at 2:39 AM on April 4, 2003

I have no affiliations with either side. When I said that I couldn't imagine that the accused would keep silent in the face of the accuser if the claim was untrue, I meant just that. Probably the accused isn't even aware of the accusation yet. And when I said 'Let's get ready to rumble...' I meant lets see what happens. But expect a rumble.

And come on, salmacis, we all want to see a bit of biff. And isn't this what metafilter is best at, getting to the truth of the matter? I for one want to find out the truth of the matter.

So let 'em go for it.
posted by chrisgregory at 2:52 AM on April 4, 2003

this is ridiculous. the guy presents no evidence whatsoever and the accused apparently has no knowledge of him. he seems completely off his nut and or desperate for more traffic to his site via a fabricated controversy.
posted by t r a c y at 3:58 AM on April 4, 2003

erm, does trackback have the hiccups...? there's 4 instances of one weblog entry...
posted by t r a c y at 4:00 AM on April 4, 2003

posted by adamgreenfield at 5:27 AM on April 4, 2003

Okay, let me apply one more lash to this dying horse before it falls...

If someone puts 50 bucks on the dash of their parked car then walks away with the door open and dinging, nobody has any business picking it up. That's a given. To take the money would be stealing.

And leaving the money on that dashboard with the door open and dinging would be incredibly irresponsible. Another given.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:31 AM on April 4, 2003

If you've got any personal links with the man, you should maybe state them before asking questions / stating opinions on this subject.

*does best wide-eyed Judy Garland impression*

Oh, hey, I didn't know it was a requirement to get you a seeing-eye dog and direct you to all my affiliations with everyone, everywhere before posting on MeFi. Apparently I missed that part in the user agreement.

Because I associate with someone on the web does not make them my kith and kin. So he has me linked. Guess what? I have him linked, as well. We've chatted via AIM and swapped e-mails, as I have with fifty other people (maybe more). Do you need a dossier on those 'connections' as well?

I didn't claim Lutero was right and Green Fairy wrong, nor vice-versa. I didn't come out here yelling that she should be taken out back and whipped. I didn't post that he was without blame. What I did do was to pose a question that occurred to me, one that not even Lutero posed.
posted by JettSuperior at 6:07 AM on April 4, 2003

regards to the award standing .
yes i think so, the award was for a 'Highly Commended' blog - even a real Hacker might have a highly commendable blog going somewhere.

i find it odd that he kept quiet for ten months, and wish he had the IP# or something tangible in his post.
posted by dabitch at 6:15 AM on April 4, 2003

Jett. You know I promised I'd never get another seeing-eye dog after my lovely Bowser died.
posted by seanyboy at 7:10 AM on April 4, 2003

I find this whole little nutshell drama interesting. It's hardly "A Rape In Cyberspace," but it does engage some interesting issues about online trust, identity, and well as when it's safe to judge that your correspondence is going unanswered for a reason.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:23 AM on April 4, 2003


that Tim guy seems a bit strained at the mental end of things. "Had to change online identity twice to preserve his privacy"?

"Answer these questions from my e-mail from over a year ago and I'll call it even"?

I mean, it could have really been anyone, even someone who was not a 'rabid fan' and just thought he was being a dork. I mean, he sent an e-mail, and got no response (from someone he admittedly had less than a cursory relationship with), so he posts the questions on the website whining "so and so didn't respond to my e-mail so I'm posting them in public to call her out because I'm a big whiny baby."

If they didn't respond to the first e-mail, I don't see them taking the time to bother hacking into the site and deleting all the guy's data. I see someone else who came across the site seeing the guy's a dork and then testing to see if he took the security risk out or not.
posted by rich at 7:35 AM on April 4, 2003

Yeah, there is that.

I'm currently talking to him on his comments page, and hoping that some gentle but firm persuasion can get him to do the right thing (in my eyes, which is apologize and then shut up).
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:44 AM on April 4, 2003

well then.... what have we here?

there's no evidence whatsoever that green fairy had anything at all to do with this.

none. not a shred. not an iota.

but there is evidence that tim has taken a little trip away from sanityville. he owes green fairy an apology.
posted by quarsan at 7:56 AM on April 4, 2003

Feh. I shouldn't have gotten involved. I think it's reasonably clear that Tim Lucero is the shitdisturber here - someone I'd want to stay away from - but nobody smells like roses at the moment.

Reminder to self: next time, remember not to get involved. What was it called on TV? The prime directive? Remember the prime directive.

Good night, kids. It's 01.38 Tokyo time, and I'm for the bed where a warm, slumbering love and a nice firm pillow await me. Love ya.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:42 AM on April 4, 2003

well, i tried to ask him politely to consider his actions, but he has banned me from posting in his comments!
posted by quarsan at 8:53 AM on April 4, 2003


Hey, green fairy really >is< a hacker! notice the trackback denial of service attack mefi!</humor>

Seriously, this is a little bizzare. I was trying to figure it all out but in the end, Tim sounds like a "nutter".
posted by soulhuntre at 8:56 AM on April 4, 2003

Looking at the greenfairy site, it sounds like the original guy is off his rocker, completely.

He left files on his server last year that someone (anyone) with a browser could have gotten to. They left a generic "hax0r" note with "green fairy" in it, and this guy thinks that's the smoking gun that the green fairy blog did it. That's not evidence, that's nothing. It's coincidence at best.

I also don't understand why it happened last year and now it's suddenly a big deal.

Seems like an unfortunate coincidence, and it's good to see the green fairy blog author is taking it in stride.
posted by mathowie at 9:57 AM on April 4, 2003

My theory is that Lutero sent his e-mail questionnaire to the wrong address and some hacker in Hoboken, incensed at being called a green fairy sterilized lesbian for no apparent reason, made Lutero's site go *poof*.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:22 AM on April 4, 2003

Here's a strange NSFW site claiming to be affiliated with Greenfairy. Plot thickener anyone?
posted by taz at 10:33 AM on April 4, 2003

Google cache of taz's NSFW site; it's been deleted.
posted by me3dia at 11:29 AM on April 4, 2003

taz that strange link makes what j.edwards said even more plausible - green fairy is obviously a pretty common moniker amongst absinthe drinkers, bloggers, pornmeisters and perhaps even scriptkiddies.

or since the back door was left open, the comment was "personalized" to include anything mention lately to make the 'hack' feel extra creepy. scriptkiddies like drama, i hear.
posted by dabitch at 12:10 PM on April 4, 2003

You know, they both seem like a pair of loons. Trivial weblogging loonie tunes. Not a rare bird by any means. Now everyone stop giving them traffic neither one of them warrants! Do something useful like download a font or play bookworm.
posted by zarah at 12:14 PM on April 4, 2003

I just want to know, who waits almost year to start reporting that their site was hacked to authorities? A few months ago, someone tried a DOS attack on my site. I noticed about 30 minutes after it started, and I immediately had the IP address in hand and emailed all associated service providers. The matter was handled within hours by the authorities. I didn't wait for months to start making a stink about it, and I didn't even lose any data. If someone broke into your home would you wait nearly a year to complain? :D Especially if you had some sort of "proof" about who did it?

And why is he still so damn upset about those damn Blogger Insider questions (hasn't it)? That project has been gone for a while now, and really ... he's demanding answers to his questions as if they were a matter of national security. Just for the attitude alone, I'd ignore him.
posted by Orb at 8:37 PM on April 4, 2003

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