Saturday, November 22, 2008

Photos aren't us continued again

Thomas asked "what's going on" in a previous posts comments. I have no idea why Flickr is blocked. However for the USB ports, this is a response to a computer virus - kind of like using a sledgehammer to swat a fly.

Oddly enough, Australian papers rather than American ones seem to have picked the story up and here's one. This earlier Wired article says:

The problem, according to a second Army e-mail, was prompted by a "virus called Agent.btz." That's a variation of the "SillyFDC" worm, which spreads by copying itself to thumb drives and the like. When that drive or disk is plugged into a second computer, the worm replicates itself again — this time on the PC. "From there, it automatically downloads code from another location. And that code could be pretty much anything," says Ryan Olson, director of rapid response for the iDefense computer security firm. SillyFDC has been around, in various forms, since July 2005. Worms that use a similar method of infection go back even further — to the early '90s. "But at that time they relied on infecting floppy disks rather than USB drives," Olson adds.

So this is a problem that dates back 2 decades and was apparently addressed by anti-viruses, but this is the current response. Personally I think there's a second underlying reason and this virus is just the current cover story. However, USB ports and the Internet are the way computers work now - as much as the military would like to, they're not going to be able to singlehandedly reset technology to 1995 nor return the Internet to a DARPAnet.

I put in a request to have my scanner port opened again, but I honestly do not expect to get a response. At some point, probably right about now, having computers on the military's network will be too much trouble and I'll pull them all to stand alone. People can just go back to telephoning with their requests - which we will then be able to actually fulfill.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Maybe it's a precaution taken in response to the news about Chinese hackers who have allegedly stolen terabytes of classified data?

And maybe you guys (and us readers/viewers) are then the sad collateral damage victims of that precaution.

Well, I guess then we shouldn't blame the US Army but the hackers.