Via Dad, it seems a network administrator for the City of San Francisco has locked out all the other administrators:
A disgruntled city computer engineer has virtually commandeered San Francisco's new multimillion-dollar computer network, altering it to deny access to top administrators even as he sits in jail on $5 million bail, authorities said Monday.
Terry Childs, a 43-year-old computer network administrator who lives in Pittsburg, has been charged with four counts of computer tampering and is scheduled to be arraigned today.
Childs created a password that granted him exclusive access to the system, authorities said. He initially gave pass codes to police, but they didn't work. When pressed, Childs refused to divulge the real code even when threatened with arrest, they said.
He was taken into custody Sunday. City officials said late Monday that they had made some headway into cracking his pass codes and regaining access to the system.
He's about to find out that you can sit in jail on a contempt of court charge for, well, ever.
The first—the most serious one—comes from David Brooks via my friend RB:
Let’s take a look at what [Clinton is] going to put her party through for the sake of [a] 5 percent chance [of winning]: The Democratic Party is probably going to have to endure another three months of daily sniping. ... For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound.
The other story, via Bruce Schneier, concerns a weird but scary Craigslist hoax:
Two hoax ads on Craigslist cost a Jacksonville man thousands of dollars in property Saturday and could land the pranksters in jail on theft and burglary charges.
The classified ads popped up Saturday afternoon on the Web site saying the owner of a home ... was forced to leave the area suddenly and that his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan.
The only problem is that Robert Salisbury has no plans of leaving his home any time soon.
Finally, a new dating website that left my friend TLC "flabbergasted but intrigued:"
You fill out a profile which consists of photos, your height, body type, education, occupation and a personal statement, and get rated by other members of the In My League community on a scale of one to ten based on your attractiveness.
Once you've been rated five times, you'll see your rating and all of your matches. Your matches are people who are within one point of your rating either way on the ten point scale. You can send messages and flirts to your matches, and when you appear as someone else's match, they send messages and flirts to you.
So if you're a 7.0, you'll be able to contact members who are rated as high as 8.0. And nobody rated below a 6.0 will be able to get in touch with you.
We live in interesting times.
Via Bruce Schneier, apparently the physical security of British nuclear weapons until around 1998 consisted of, essentially, a bicycle key:
To arm the weapons you just open a panel held by two captive screws - like a battery cover on a radio - using a thumbnail or a coin.
Inside are the arming switch and a series of dials which you can turn with an Allen key to select high yield or low yield, air burst or groundburst and other parameters.
The Bomb is actually armed by inserting a bicycle lock key into the arming switch and turning it through 90 degrees. There is no code which needs to be entered or dual key system to prevent a rogue individual from arming the Bomb.
Oh. Well. Of course. Why use a hard-to-forge sequence of letters and numbers like the U.S. or U.S.S.R. when a little key will do?
So what prevented an accidental (or deliberate) British detonation until Tony Blair fixed the problem? Why, tradition, of course, what what!
The Royal Navy argued that officers of the Royal Navy as the Senior Service could be trusted: "It would be invidious to suggest... that Senior Service officers may, in difficult circumstances, act in defiance of their clear orders."
(Insert nervous laughter here.)
Via Bruce Schneier, Cory Doctorow: "The DRM business model is the urinary tract infection of media experiences: all of the uses that used to come in an easy gush now come in a mingy, painful dribble..."
A larger-than-usual bunch of news stories piqued my interest this morning:
Terrorism only works if people allow themselves to be terrorized. People like, for example, shoppers in New Haven, Conn.:
Two people who sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club [the Hash House Harriers] inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare and now face a felony charge.
New Haven ophthalmologist Daniel Salchow, 36, and his sister, Dorothee, 31, who is visiting from Hamburg, Germany, were both charged with first-degree breach of peace, a felony.
The siblings set off the scare while organizing a run for a local chapter of the Hash House Harriers, a worldwide group that bills itself as a "drinking club with a running problem."
Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the city plans to seek restitution from the Salchows, who are due in court Sept. 14. "You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know," she said. "It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious. We're thankful it wasn't, but there were a lot of resources that went into figuring that out."
Maybe there's something about New England that prevents the police there from exercising common sense (see, e.g., blinking advertisements).
Update, 15:20 CDT: Security expert Bruce Schneier has declared this the "stupidest terrorist overreaction yet."
Via Bruce Schneier, a really good article about security theater:
At the time, it seemed reasonable. Richard Reid tried to ignite explosives hidden in his shoe while aboard a December 2001 flight from Paris, so Congress banned butane lighters on planes.
But in retrospect, the costs of the ban outweighed the benefits. Airport retailers had to stop selling lighters. Lighter vendor Zippo Manufacturing Co. laid off more than 100 workers in part because of the prohibition. Transportation Security Administration screeners at one point had to confiscate 30,000 lighters every day, quadrupling the amount of garbage the agency had to dispose of. TSA even had to hire a contractor to help with all the extra trash.
Welcome to homeland security, where everyone has an incentive to exaggerate threats. A Congress member whose district includes a port has little to lose and much to gain by playing up the potential for container-borne terrorism. A city with a dam talks up the need to protect critical infrastructure. A company selling weapons-detection technology stresses the vulnerability of commercial aviation. A civil servant evaluating homeland security grant applications has an interest in over-estimating dangers that might be addressed by grantees rather than denying funding and risk blame in the event of a disaster.
(Via Bruce Schneier.) I'm really not sure what to make of this, or what, actually, they're selling:
Via security guru Bruce Schneier, an actual, real-world Trojan Horse that gets in...well, almost everywhere.