Saturday, April 10, 2010

In Passing: Dixie Carter

Dixie Carter
May 25, 1939 – April 10, 2010

Friday, April 09, 2010

Coal Miners, Etc. - A Slice of America Forgotten

I originally grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains in South-Western Virginia (not West Virginia), but not far from the life, and times, of the same people who work the coal mines in West Virginia.

In fact, I have relatives that still work the coal mines there.

And let me tell you, I don't envy their profession, because it has the mogul of death hanging around every shift they spend farming under the earth.

It's a job that no one really wants, except the people who have no other opportunity for work. They want to work, and they will do whatever work is available. Period.

Life is tough in small towns all across America, and like most other places, people just want to work -- no matter what the circumstance. They have bills to pay just like everyone else.

If you've never spent any time up in the mountains of West Virginia, then you'll have a really hard time understanding this. I grew up in that area, and I can tell you, the coal miners are a breed apart -- they are loyal people, just trying to make a living, and great Americans.

It's the same in my hometown in Southwestern Virginia -- every time I go back and visit family, I am shocked even more.

Driving down the Main Street, I am shocked on the number of shuttered businesses -- it's almost a ghost town.

Most of the young people have left, and those that haven't are either wrapped up in drugs, in jail, or somewhere in between.

Somehow, I think this is a sad portrait of what is going on in small towns all across this country, and that saddens me greatly.

Granted, I left when I got out of High School -- I consider myself lucky. I joined the military after a few years, and let the "current" take me where it would.

I was lucky.

I got out.

I didn't end up working in the mines.

I am so glad I didn't end up with that as a last resort.

These dead miners are our legacy, folks. If you don't understand the tragedy here, not the death of the lost miners (although that is tragic), but the fact that this is all the opportunity these people have -- then you are missing the bigger picture.

We have entire swaths of communities all across this country that are just squeaking by, barely able to feed their families, pay their rent.

See the bigger picture.

We need to extend our help to each & everyone of them

Are we not brothers & sisters in this maddening mess?

Yes. We Are.

Just a few thoughts.

- ferg

Hundreds of Wordpress Blogs Hit by '' Hack

Brian Krebs:

A large number of bloggers using Wordpress are reporting that their sites recently were hacked and are redirecting visitors to a page that tries to install malicious software.

According to multiple postings on the Wordpress user forum and other blogs, the attack doesn’t modify or create files, but rather appears to inject a Web address — “” — directly into the target site’s database, so that any attempts to access the hacked site redirects the visitor to Worse yet, because of the way the attack is carried out, victim site owners are at least temporarily locked out of accessing their blogs from the Wordpress interface.

It’s not clear yet whether the point of compromise is a Wordpress vulnerability (users of the latest, patched version appear to be most affected), a malicious Wordpress plugin, or if a common service provider may be the culprit. However, nearly every site owner affected so far reports that Network Solutions is their current Web hosting provider.

Network Solutions spokeswoman Susan Wade said the company is investigating the attacks, and that the company believes the problem may be related to a rogue Wordpress plugin. Wade added that the attacks weren’t limited to just Network Solutions customers (although the company hasn’t supplied the author with any evidence to support that claim yet).

More here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Chinese ISP Momentarily Hijacks the Internet (Again)

Robert McMillan writes on ComputerWorld:

For the second time in two weeks, bad networking information spreading from China has disrupted the Internet.

On Thursday morning, bad routing data from a small Chinese ISP called IDC China Telecommunication was re-transmitted by China's state-owned China Telecommunications, and then spread around the Internet, affecting Internet service providers such as AT&T, Level3, Deutsche Telekom, Qwest Communications and Telefonica.

"There are a large number of ISPs who accepted these routes all over the world," said Martin A. Brown, technical lead at Internet monitoring firm Renesys.

According to Brown, the incident started just before 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday and lasted about 20 minutes. During that time IDC China Telecommunication transmitted bad routing information for between 32,000 and 37,000 networks, redirecting them to IDC China Telecommunication instead of their rightful owners.

More here.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Mark Fiore: Hierarchy Complicitus

More Mark Fiore brilliance.

Via The San Francisco Chronicle


- ferg

Romania Swoops In on 70 Cyber Theft Suspects

Kim Zetter writes on Threat Level:

Romanian police arrested 70 suspects Tuesday who they claim were involved in eBay scams and other cybercrimes since 2006.

Believed to be members of three separate gangs, the scammers used phishing attacks to get the login credentials of eBay account holders, then used the accounts to auction nonexistent goods. Police have identified approximately 800 victims who sent money for non-existent Rolex watches, cars, yachts, private airplanes and other luxury goods. Buyers from around the world lost an estimated $1 million after they sent money for winning auctions, but never received goods. According to one Romanian news source, an American buyer paid about $90,000 for a luxury aircraft in one auction.

The crooks allegedly operated in Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Police have so far recovered only a small, undetermined amount of money in the raids. Romanian authorities posted a video of one of the police raids on YouTube (above).

Suspects in several countries reportedly exchanged homes, cars and phone cards among themselves.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Valley of the Kings, involved hundreds of law enforcement agents in multiple cities and more than 100 search warrants. It was a joint operation between the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service and the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).

More here.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bank Of America Employee Charged for Plotting to Deploy ATM Code for Theft

An AP newswire article by Mike Baker, via The Sun News, reports:

A Bank of America Corp. employee plotted to deploy malicious computer code within the company's systems so that ATM machines would dispense cash without any record of a transaction, federal prosecutors allege in court documents.

Rodney Reed Caverly was tasked with maintaining and designing computer systems at the bank, including computers that conducted ATM transactions. Prosecutors in the western district of North Carolina said he sought to use computer code within the company's protected computers so that the ATMs would make fraudulent disbursements.

Caverly was able to obtain more than $5,000 during a seven-month period in 2009, prosecutors allege.

The details of Caverly's case were filed on Thursday in a "bill of information" document, which typically signals that a plea deal is forthcoming. An attorney for Caverly, Christopher Fialko, declined to comment. Federal prosecutors didn't return a phone call.

More here.

Spy Network Pilfered Classified Docs From Indian Government and Others

Kim Zetter writes on Threat Level:

A spy network targeting government networks in India and other countries has been pilfering highly classified and other sensitive documents related to missile systems, the movement of military forces and relations among countries, according to a report released Tuesday.

It also grabbed nearly a year’s worth of personal correspondence from the Dalai Lama’s office, even after reports published last year indicated that the Dalai Lama’s network had been compromised in what is believed to be a separate breach.

The researchers say the spying is an example of a sophisticated shift that has occurred in malware networks from “what were once primarily simple to increasingly complex, adaptive systems spread across redundant services and platforms” and from ones that primarily focused on exploitation for criminal purposes to ones that are focused on “political, military, and intelligence-focused espionage.”

The spynet, dubbed Shadow Network, was discovered by a group of computer-security researchers in Canada and the United States who have been monitoring the espionage for at least eight months and watched as the spies siphoned classified and other restricted documents from the Indian Defense Ministry and other computer networks.

More here.