The First Global Cyber-War

For those of you hiding under a rock or otherwise out of the loop the past 2 weeks a quick Google News search for Wikileaks should help fill you in.  The well-known whistle-blower site has hit global headlines the past few weeks as it releases some 250,000 classified US documents.  The site has come under heavy fire from US officials, some of which want to classify it as a terrorist organization.  Amazon, one of the hosts of Wikileaks pulled the plug on their hosting, EveryDNS stopped providing DNS service to Wikileaks, and Visa/Mastercard/PayPay have refused to process donations to the site.

In retaliation of all these actions, a group of supporters (that have no affiliation with Wikileaks whatsoever) known as ‘Anonymous’ launched a number of DDoS attacks against many of these sites.  Visa and Mastercard had their sites taken offline for a number of hours, PayPal’s blog and API site (a site used by maybe third-parties to process payments) were also hit and taken down/slowed down for a number of hours.  Other causalities of the attacks include Swedish prosecutors, PostFinance, and many others.

But this is not a one-sided battle.  The ‘Anonymous’ site has been hit several times on various fronts bring parts of its websites and chat rooms down.  Meanwhile Wikileaks was taken offline from a combination of DDoS attacks and Amazon/EveryDNS shutting down their accounts.

Also, Earlier in the year we saw attacks against the RIAA and MPAA by a group known as ‘4chan’ for attempting to take down a number of file sharing sites with DDoS attacks of their own.  This same group also targeted Tumblr for allegedly copying other people’s work and not giving them credit for it.

Data breaches of companies large and small are happening at an alarming rate too.  McDonald’s, University of Wisconsin, and Gawker are some of the latest victims.

Searches on Google News and may other sites for terms such as “DDoS Attack“, “4chan Attack“, and “data breach” yield thousands and thousands of results.  Reports of new attacks are coming daily and sometimes hourly at a rate that doesn’t appear to be slowing.  While most Internet users do not, and most likely will not, see the ramifications of these attacks, many individuals are starting to see the writing on the wall.

I myself believe we are on the verge of a global cyber-war.  We seem to be moving away from organized armies with rifles to vigilantes armed only with a laptop and an Internet connection.  Their targets can be a block down the road or 5000 miles away on the other side of the globe.  There is no age, race, religious, or any other barriers to doing such work.  Attacks from these ‘armies’ can be organized to strike anywhere in the world within hours.  Becoming part of the attack is so simple most children could do it.  Simply download a piece of software and give it the address of the control server.  That’s it, your PC is now a part of the attacks.

According to the download site, over 80 THOUSAND copies of the program have been downloaded in the last week.  What’s also clear from the graph is that downloads have trickled off since the 9th.  However, some statistics I managed to uncover indicate that there are almost 2 BILLION Internet users worldwide.  Assuming one quarter of those own a computer that’s roughly 500 MILLION Internet connected computers worldwide.  I’m sure this number is VERY low as a lot of these people have more than one computer but for the sake of argument let’s just go with it.  Let’s then say 1% of those Internet connected computers belong to a group of people who believe very strongly one way and want to do something to show it.  This brings us to about 1MILLION pissed off Internet users with computers out to prove a point.  Finally let’s take our original 80 THOUSAND downloads of that software and double it to 160 THOUSAND.  If 160 THOUSAND computers managed to take down the web sites of Visa and Mastercard (ranked 326 and 411 on the fortune 500 list of 2010) imagine what 1 MILLION could do?

But it doesn’t stop there; new technologies are being leveraged to make attacking even easier.  A small Javascript page makes attacking even easier.  All you have to do is visit a specific website and click a button.  No software to download, no computer knowledge required, and you could even participate from other Internet connected devices such as smart phones and tablet PCs.

We are starting to see what the creators of SETI@home discovered many years ago….one personal computer trying to analyze a decade’s worth of scientific data is all but worthless.  However, hundred of thousands, even millions, of computers all focused on the same task can really make a HUGE impact.  The shared CPU, RAM, disk space, and bandwidth of all these computers focused on one specific goal can rival, even exceed, the capabilities of the worlds great supercomputers.

Attacks such as those see the past two weeks or so show us that dedicated individuals, those that believe strongly in a cause, have the ability to take down not only your Facebook and Twitter pages but your bank, favorite on-line merchant, even government sites.  They can organize at a moments notice and vanish just as quickly.  And no, it’s not just the ‘bad guys’ that have this power, the US government, Chinese government, and I’m sure many other government organizations possess this ability.

If individuals can cause the amount of damage we have see these past two weeks imagine what would happen if two governments started attacking each-other through DDoS attacks?  Imagine the Axis and Allies attacking not with heavy bombers and armored tanks but with nothing except small electric pulses sent zooming around the globe at the speed of light?  Your snipers are highly experienced hackers, your Generals become CIO’sFirewalls and IPS devices become your shields and walls.  Your heavy artillery is worms and Trojans.  Wars could be decided in minutes…in seconds.

We sit at a crossroad and are watching history unfold before our very eyes.  The true potential, the true power, of millions of Internet connected devices is just starting to come into light.  Nobody knows what the future holds, and I would never claim such things.  The Internet is, and has always been, about the open flow of information.  What started as a small lab experiment has turned into a tool that most of us cannot do without in our day-to-day lives.  As cars, home appliances, and many other devices connect to the Internet the number of possible ‘attack devices’ is only going to grow.  I, for one, look to the future with much anticipation and wonder, contemplating what happens next….

Farther reading:
http://pandalabs.pandasecurity.com/tis-the-season-of-ddos-wikileaks-editio/
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/the-global-cyber-war-hacks-and-attacks-scorecard/15192
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20024578-38.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/dec/10/wikileaks-cables-anonymous-online-war
http://www.astaro.com/en-us/blog/from-bedroom-to-underground

To all the idiots out there…

This one goes out to all the idiots, assholes, douche bags, and all around stupid people. You know who you are…. The uptight businesspeople that would be lucky if all they had was a bug up their ass… The people who think that they own the road, and that the rest of the world revolves around them… The ones who can’t possible seem to comprehend when someone is being more then courteous to them, and still acts like they are 3 years old… The customer (or person for that matter) who “knows” that they are right….even after being proven wrong… The jocks and preppy kids who cruise around in tricked out Civics spending their parents money… The people who call constantly to “conduct a survey” and can’t seem to take a hint after being hung up on multiple times in a row… The low-life’s that insist on sending me SPAM about “penis enlargement”, “bogus lotteries”, “making millions working from home”, “fake watches”, and all other sorts of crap… The small-minded idiots who always have “something to prove” and will try to prove it any way possible… One of my favourite quotes of all time: “Everyone has the right to be stupid, but some people abuse the privilege.” So why don’t you try something new, and grow a pair, as it’s obvious that the term “needle dick” would be the overstatement of the century!

Snow Driving

So I have come to the conclusion today that people should not be allowed to drive in the snow until they pass a special test. One of my co-workers witness a pick-up truck go off the road, and a Jeep flip over. On my way home, I saw a pick-up truck nearly bite it going to fast across an overpass and numerous car in the ditch. Shelley said that people were running red lights… Does the snow really make people that stupid?!?!  It’s really not that hard people, hang up the phones, stop playing with the radio, slow down and keep some distance between you and the car in front of you, and just fucking drive!!!!  It really is not that hard people….  I drive a rear-wheel drive car for crying out loud, and I still manage to keep it on the road.  Do I posses some magical powers that nobody else does?  The answer to that, of course, is no.  I’m not the best driver….VERY far from it….but at least I have enough common sense to SLOW THE FUCK DOWN when it’s snowing out and not try to take the free-way at 75MPH when it’s almost like a sheet of ice.

This brings me to the point I really wanted to make.  I think that drivers should have to pass a second driving test (in the snow) to prove that they can actually do it before they are allowed to drive in the snow.  To me, this seems like a brilliant idea.  Test drivers to make sure that they actually can drive in the snow, before you let them.

CPU Stress Test Scripts

As I sit here stress-testing one of my Linux boxes I figured I would share with you guys the two scripts I have written to accomplish this. These two scripts simply peg one CPU/core. You will have to execute 1 instance of the script for each CPU/core on your machine to truly put it through it’s paces.

WARNING: THESE SCRIPTS CAN AND WILL PUSH YOUR MACHINE TO ITS LIMITS! IF YOU HAVE EVEN A SLIGHT ISSUE WITH THE COOLING/HARDWARE IN YOU MACHINE IT’S STRONGLY ADVISED THAT YOU DO NOT RUN THESE! THESE SCRIPTS CAN DAMAGE HARDWARE IF USED INCORRECTLY!!!!

Alright, now that we have that out of the way, here ya go:

Windows VBScript:
1) Copy and paste this into notepad:
i=0
while 1<2
i = i + 1
wend
2) Save as ‘max_cpu.vbs’ in a location that’s convenient for you.
3) OPEN TASK MANAGER NOW (If you don’t do it now you will never get it open)!!!!!
4) Run the script (by double clicking) for each CPU/core you have on your machine. In task manager you should see a wscript.exe for each time you double click it.
5) When you have completed the testing kill all the wscript.exe processes you see in task manager.

Linux bash script:
1) Copy and paste this into gedit:
#!/bin/bash
let count=0
while :
do
echo “Count is: $count”
((count++))
done
2) Save as ‘max_cpu.sh’ in a location that’s convenient for you.
3) Make the script executable (‘chmod a+x max_cpu.sh’ usually works).
4) Run the script, ‘./max_cpu.sh’ will do it. Repeat this for every CPU/core on your machine. You will have to have a separate terminal for each one.
5) When you have completed your testing do a ‘CTRL + C’ in each of the terminal windows that you executed the script in to kill the process.

While not really required, it’s strongly advised that you reboot after these ‘tests’ to make sure things get cleaned up. These don’t make any change to the OS but sometimes (especially with Windows) it will not fully release the resources used after the process(es) is(are) terminated.

3 Doors Down – Citizen/Soldier

Beyond the boundaries of your city’s lights.
Stand the heroes waiting for your cries.
So many times you did not bring this on yourself.
When the moment finally comes, I’ll be there to help.

And on that day, when you need your brothers and sisters to care.
I’ll be right here.

Citizen soldiers.
Holding the light for the ones that we guide from the dark of despair.
Standing on guard for the ones that we’ve sheltered.
We’ll always be ready because we will always be there.

When there’re people crying in the streets.
When they’re starving for a meal to eat.
When they simply need a place to make their beds.
Right here underneath my wing, you can rest your head.

On that day, when you need your brothers and sisters to care.
I’ll be right here.

Citizen soldiers.
Holding the light for the ones that we guide from the dark of despair.
Standing on guard for the ones that we’ve sheltered.
We’ll always be ready because we will always be there.

Hope and pray, that you never need me.
The rest assured I will not let you down.
I walk beside you, but you may not see me.
The strongest among you may not wear a crown.

On the day when you need your brothers and sisters to care.
I’ll be right here.
On that day when you don’t have strength for the burden you bear.
I’ll be right here.

Citizen soldiers.
Holding the light for the ones that we guide from the dark of despair.
Standing on guard for the ones that we’ve sheltered.
We’ll always be ready because we will always be there.

Reflections….

As I drove home, I took a route I don’t usually take. I headed down SR-315 for a reason unknown. Anyway, at a point just north of SR-161, is where I had my accident some 2 and a half years ago.  I realize it was worse than I would like to admit, but I will say that if you know where it is, you can clearly still see the path I cut through the brush and trees.

I haven’t been past here in some time, and it really gave me a chance to reflect.  Having known the record of the cars I choose to drive (cop cars for all intensive purposes) it’s not surprising that I emerged from it nearly unharmed.  Looking at it though, I realize that there are very few, maybe no other cars that would have protected me the way my vic did.

Crown Victories, Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Cars, etc. have always been built pretty well.  The police don’t just choose them randomly.  They have beefy engines, strong suspensions, and really do hold up rather well in a collision.  Well….the car doesn’t, but it does a VERY good job protecting the driver.

Anyway, I digress.  I don’t believe that there are many cars that would have left their drivers in as good shape as I was.  What it is, I don’t know, but I know there is a reason I am still here today.  There is a reason I choose a Crown Vic as my car.  A reason I walked away from that crash nearly unharmed.  It’s something I have thought about many times over the past couple of years.  Something that I will never be able to shake, something I will never be able to forget, something I will never be able to deny.

I know that I won’t usually admit it, nor will I usually acknowledge it, but the truth is, I fucked up, really bad.  Whether it was for better or worse, I really don’t know, but I cannot change the past.  I don’t usually dwell on it, or really even think about it, but it has been at the front of my mind this evening.

What it means, I haven’t a clue.  I have never claimed to understand the way that my mind works, but I know this.  Something caused me to drive past that point tonight.  Something caused me to dwell on it for so long.  What, I don’t know, but something.

Anyway, I have gone on long enough, I’m headed to bed.  It’s still a bit early, but I’m tired and not in a very good mood….

I Fought the Ceiling Fan (And The Ceiling Fan Won)

So I learned a valuable lesson the other day.  What you are in a room with low ceilings, and a running ceiling fan, don’t reach up.  Yes, I know that should have been a given, but when you wake up all groggy, and in the dark, it’s not the first thing on your mind.  At this point though, it’s most certainly something I will think about.

It happened late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.  I’m not really sure which since my clock’s wrong.  I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.  On my way there, I was walking through my dark room and stretched my arms up in the air to stretch.  Instead of cracking a few joints and stretching out my arms though, my left-hand pinky was hit with the blade of a ceiling fan.  At first it wasn’t really all that bad.  It was dark and I was tired so I didn’t really think much of it.  After I got to the bathroom though and turned on the light, it was a bit worse.  I got cut in three places.

So that’s my story.  Don’t fight the ceiling fan, you won’t win, especially when it’s on high speed.

All jumbled up….

So it seems like I have been starting, but not finishing, a number of entries both for here and my journal on my site.  I have decided (for better or worse) that I will at least post what I have written.  None of these are completed, nor will they be.  It was just me starting things at random points in time but never finishing them.  So here you are:

08-23-2008
So I’m in kinda a weird Dan mood right now.  I don’t really know how to describe it, or really what it is, it’s just weird.  It’s not happy or sad…..mad or calm….just weird.  I don’t really know what else to say, so I suppose that this won’t be real long.  I just wanted to post at least something.

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10-22-2008 – A note for my Shelley
I thought that perhaps I would start out my posting here with a “small” note to my dear Shelley.  Alright, so it won’t be small, but still.

After what can only be described as yet another wonderful weekend, I still continue to fall more and more in love with her.  It would be hard to describe the weekend as perfect, but arguably any time spent with her is perfect.  If you want to read all the details, you can check out our joint blog Dan and Shelley.

But anyway, back on track here.  Shelley, my dear Shelley, I love you.  I know that those words don’t even begin to convey what I feel for you, but they are the best that I have found so far.  Just when I think that I can’t possibly love you any more, I am proven wrong.  Simply thinking about you makes me fall deeper and deeper in love with you.  I cherish every moment that we spend together, and long for when we shall meet again.

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01-07-2009 – A new year, new love, a clean slate….
So this is a hard post for me to make.  I have made many a painful posts before in my journal in the past but it never gets any easier.  I know that this post is WAY overdue but as I always say, better late than never…..

So for those who don’t know, I am now dating the most wonderful woman in the world.  Her name is Shelley and I can not even begin to describe my feelings for her.  We have been together some 9ish months at this point and I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my life.  I suppose, that along with this, I should at least mention my ex.  She who shall not be named is, last I knew, living with a “friend” in MO.  I’m not going to go into details but calling her a bitch would be a compliment I do believe.  I truly hate looking down on people like that but honestly I don’t know what else to say.

The final thing I should probably note is my job.  I love me job, I really do.  I am never doing the same thing for days on end, I get to work with some cutting edge technology, and I my opinion is respected and always heard if I have something that needs said.  We had training today for our new phone system and while I really don’t enjoy meetings, I know that it’s something I have to do sometimes.  We have been working VERY hard to get things ready for this new system along with some other major projects.  Honestly, I really do enjoy working hard, the end result ALWAYS makes it worth while.

Anyway, moving right along.  I am, at this point, coming up upon the 2nd anniversary of my accident.  I can’t honestly believe that it’s been that long but it has.  I try not to think about it….try to push it from my mind but I never strays far.  It’s something that hangs over my head day in and day out.  Very rarely does a day go by that I still don’t think about it.  My friends know that I am talking about, for those who don’t, I’m not planning to go into it here.

Well back to Shelley.  The short of it is that I love her.  Not in a love that can be defined, explained, or expressed.  I love her so deeply I don’t even fully understand it.  So much that no matter how hard I try I will never be able to describe it.  I have spent countless hours….countless sleepless nights trying to put into words what I feel.  I have concluded that it’s really just not possible.  I can not, and will not, ever be able to describe it.

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So that’s it, what I have half-written over the past 8 months.  Maybe some of it’s interesting, but most likely not.  Enjoy!

A new thought…..

Alright, so after some consideration, I have come up with a new plan for this site.  I have decided NOT to merge Dan’s Rant Corner with this site.  I have also decided against migrating my previous journal entries and such here.  Instead, think of this as a clean slate.  I place for me to “start anew” as it were.  This will from here on out be my journal, and pretty much space for anything else.  I may post code snippets here, pictures, love notes, pretty much anything and everything that I want.  So keep your bookmarks handy and your finger on that mouse button!  I plan to go live first thing next year.  In the mean time, I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday and if you haven’t do so already, please check out some of my other sites.  The links are listed on the right-hand side near the bottom.

Dan

Welcome!!!

First off I would like to extend a huge welcome to everyone here!! I’m glad you found the place! Second, being that this is a VERY new site, I would appreciate any and all comments you have to offer. You can either use the contact form or email me directly.

If you haven’t already guessed it, this will be a place for me to rant and rave about whatever my heart desires. I often find myself frustrated with things and thought that the net would be a perfect place to vent those frustrations. This being said, I will make no effort to “sugar coat” or otherwise “tone down” that which I say. If you don’t like it, and/or find it offensive, there’s nothing holding you here.

I hope everyone enjoys reading the posts as much as I enjoy writing them!!!


Dan