Two nights ago I saw a piece on Headline News that has some interesting implications. It seems Hank Williams Jr. found a previously unknown recording by his father, the late famed country singer Hank Williams, Sr. Hank Jr. decided that it would be great to make a new recording as a duet with his long departed Dad. From the news article, it sounded like the recording was heavily processed to remove noise and recording artifacts. In addition, film footage from a very old Kate Smith TV show was heavily processed to show Hank Sr. singing this song (they implied that he did NOT perform it on that show), matching mouth movements to the lyrics in a very convincing manner. They also managed to merge an adult Hank Jr. into the scene as if he was there when it is was recorded. Quite a feat, as Hank Jr. was probably about 2 years old (or less) at the time. The connection with RISKS is that computer/video processing technology has progressed to the point where seeing is definitely not believing. Not everyone is aware of this though, so the possibility exists that public opinion could be manipulated by showing influential people doing and/or saying things that are solely in the interest of the persons in control of this technology. This is probably not new break-through in technology, but it is the first I've seen of it in national distribution. Steve
Our local paper carried the following Associated Press story this evening: An airline ticket agent piled up 1.7 million bonus air miles via computer without leaving the ground, then sold the credits for more than $20,000, according to a published report. Ralf Kwaschni, 28, was arrested Sunday when he arrived for work at Kennedy International Airport and was charged with computer tampering and grand larceny, authorities said. Kwaschni, a ticket agent for Lufthansa Airlines, used to work for American Airlines, the Daily News reported today. Police said he used his computer access code to create 18 fake American Airline Advantage Accounts - racking up 1.7 million bonus air miles, according to the newspaper. All 18 accounts, five in Kwaschni's name and 13 under fake ones, listed the same post office box, according to the newspaper. Instead of exchanging the bonus miles for all the free travel, Kwaschni sold some of them for $22,500 to brokers, who used the credits to get a couple of first class, round trip tickets from New York to Australia, two more between London and Bermuda and one between New York and Paris, the newspaper said. It is legal to sell personal bonus miles to brokers Port Authority Detective Charles Schmidt said. Kwaschni would create accounts under common last names, the newspaper said. When a person with one of the names was aboard an American flight and did not have an Advantage account, the passengers name would be eliminated from the flight list and replaced with one from the fake accounts, the newspaper said. "As the plane was pulling away from the gate, this guy was literally wiping out passengers," Schmidt said. Just continues to show that the greatest security risk is the internal one. Aside from the obvious mistake of using the same address for all his accounts, it would be difficult to catch this type of tampering. He was doing the type of operations that his job requires (adding and deleting passengers), so one wonders how American caught on. Ken Jongsma [Also noted by Dave Curry in the San Jose Mercury News.]
Excerpts from a story in FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK, 13 Feb 1989, pages 29 and 37: REDUCING PILOT BURDENS COMES UNDER RAPID FIRE, by Fred Reed Automatic targeting continues its penetration of the military with the development of Rapid Fire, an automated fire-control system for the Maverick air-to-ground missile. The system, from Hughes Aircraft Co., is typical of approaches now being investigated by many manufacturers of several types of weapons . ... Maverick is a large anti-tank missile that homes in, by means of a sensor in its nose, on the infrared radiation emitted by tanks and other vehicles. ... According to (Rapid Fire project manager Floyd) Smoller, the processing is possible with today's computers. Further, processing is less complex than in full-scale target recognition systems that seek to identify targets with certainty. ... ``The system does not give a hard and fast discrimination between tanks and other vehicles,'' Smoller said. ``However, it does favor tanks, based on variables such as size, aspect ratio and known signature. It rejects objects in its range that are too large to be vehicles --- roads, barns and so on. And it ignores fires so you don't shoot at burning tanks or forests.'' Having found all candidate targets in its field of view, he said, the system chooses four targets, if the aircraft carries four missiles. ``Then, if the pilot wants, he can simply fire at the targets or he can change the priority of the targets. The Air Force never likes to give up the final say on firing,'' Stoller said. ... The two trends exemplified by Rapid Fire --- toward integration of computer, sensors, and weapons and toward increasing automation --- can be seen in many modern weapons. ... An Air Force spokesman said Rapid Fire seemed to be a good system but that the Air Force doesn't have a requirement for it now. Hughes said it is working on an F-16 application to demonstrate Rapid Fire. The company believes the system will become more important as close air support grows in importance.'
In a recent RISKS, Robert English points out that much of the pressure that leads to programs being shipped quickly, without extensive testing, is inhe- rent in the economic structure of the industry. He's very right. The following passage, forwarded to me by a friend, was taken from an article entitled "Technology and Competitiveness:" by John A. Young (who is president and CEO of the Hewlett-Packard Company): "In today's world, shortening the time between idea stage and finished product often makes the difference between success and failure. The high costs of developing new products, the brief time before copies appear, and the rapid obsolencence make for a short innovation cycle - often 3 to 5 years (6). A study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company demonstrated that for a typical product with a 5-year life span, a 6 month delay in shipping would reduce after-tax profits by one third. A 50% development cost overrun, by contrast, would reduce the after-tax profits by only 3.5% (13)." bibliography (6) F. Press, in A HIGH TECHNOLOGY GAP (Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 1987) pp. 14-15. (13) D. G. Reinertsen, WHODUNIT? THE SEARCH FOR THE NEW PRODUCT KILLERS (McKinsey & Company, New York, July 1983). [taken from THE BENT of Tau Beta Pi - Winter 1989 issue] Obviously, not everyone considers "6 month delay in shipping" and "50% deve- lopment cost overrun" as the only two alternatives. — Jerry
A similar error happened at the postal banking office in Munich: a wrong tape was mounted on 5 Jan 89 redoing all monthly transfers due at the end of the month. The error was discovered (due to customer complains?) and repaired the next working day (9 Jan) and apologies were mailed. Udo Voges
This happened about a year ago in a small local bank which has been expanding its branches so far. One day I got a letter from a bank (computer generated one) informing me that my checking account has been closed. This was a shock to me, considering the fact that I have never requested my checking account to be closed. When I went to the bank to demand an explanation for the letter, the manager at the bank called up the central data processing facility in another location, and here is what she told me: my checking account was closed because it has not been accessed for 3 months, and since the balance was $0.00. This was correct as far as I knew, but I have kept the balance in my checking account at $0.00 for over a year then, since I have a share draft protection which means that whenever there is not an adequate fund in the checking account, adequate fund are automatically transferred from my savings account. So to simplify bookkeeping, I have kept my checking account on balance $0.00 on purpose. Also, I had considerable fund in my savings account at the time. Although the bank manager apologized for this error, I have changed to another bank since then. Hsiu-Teh Hsieh, Univ. of Calif., Santa Cruz
Jeffrey Mogul (email@example.com) mentioned the following in RISKS-8.21: > In RISKS 8.18, Jeff Makey writes about a PDP-11/40 that could be > crashed by walking across the room and kicking the console terminal, > thereby transferring a static charge to the console and the CPU. (...) > If a PC were this sensitive to static, typewriters would still be big sellers. Ever since SCO made the big conversion off of PDP-11/44's and on to PC's, we have been plagued by crashes due to static. While some machines seem more prone to this problem than others, it seems that any PC with a cartridge tape drive has the potential of crashing when the tape is inserted (and the correct conditions for static electricity exist). The policy recommended for those who handle backups here is to ground yourself to the chassis of the machine before/during insertion of the tape. I do not plan to sell my manual Olivetti typewriter yet. -Seth (sethk@sco.COM)
(Reproduced from The Financial Review, Feb 14th, 1989) Clamp on computer hackers, by Julie Power Federal Cabinet is expected to endorse today draft legislation containing tough penalties for hacking into Commonwealth computer systems. It is understood that the Attorney-General, Mr Lionel Bowen, will be proposing a range of tough new laws closely aligned with the recommendations of the Attorney-General's Department released in December. Mr Bowen requested the report by the Review of Commonwealth Criminal Law, chaired by Sir Harry Gibbs, as a matter of urgency because of the growing need to protect Commonwealth information and update the existing legislation. Another consideration could be protection against unauthorised access of the tax file number, which will be stored on a number of Government databases. If the report's recommendations are endorsed, hacking into Commonwealth computers will attract a $48,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment. In addition, it would be an offence to destroy, erase, alter, interfere, obstruct and unlawfully add to or insert data in a Commonwealth computer system. The legislation does not extend to private computer systems. However, the Attorney-General's Department recommended that it would be an offence to access information held in a private computer via a Telecom communication facility or another Commonwealth communication facility without due authority. Neil Crellin, CSIRO Maths and Stats, Sydney, Australia. (firstname.lastname@example.org) PO Box 218, Lindfield, NSW 2070. (ph) +61 2 467 6721 (fax) +61 2 416 9317
The MIT paper on the Internet virus of last Novemember, "With Microscope and Tweezers: An Analysis of the Internet Virus of November 1988", is now available via anonymous ftp from either bitsy.mit.edu (188.8.131.52) or athena-dist.mit.edu (184.108.40.206) in the pub/virus directory as mit.PS (and mit.PS.Z). A version of this paper will be presented at the 1989 IEEE Symposium on Research in Security and Privacy. — Jon Abstract: In early November 1988 the Internet, a collection of networks consisting of 60,000 host computers implementing the TCP/IP protocol suite, was attacked by a virus, a program which broke into computers on the network and which spread from one machine to another. This paper is a detailed analysis of the virus program itself, as well as the reactions of the besieged Internet community. We discuss the structure of the actual program, as well as the strategies the virus used to reproduce itself. We present the chronology of events as seen by our team at MIT, one of a handful of groups around the country working to take apart the virus, in an attempt to discover its secrets and to learn the network's vulnerabilities. We describe the lessons that this incident has taught the Internet community and topics for future consideration and resolution. A detailed routine by routine description of the virus program including the contents of its built in dictionary is provided.
1. Dr. J Cordani, at Adelphi University, and E. Rustadt, at Pace University propose to bring out a collection of articles on the subject of computer viruses for the academic and research community. 2. We envision a volume of 10 to 20 articles, each 10 to 30 pages in length. We will attempt to cover the field of viruses in historical, social, ethical, economic, and technical areas. 3. We envision a section as introduction, theory, classifications, life cycles, epidemiology, countermeasures, economic and social issues, law, beneficial uses, the future. 4. As a member of this forum, I know of few more fruitful media in which to search for participants. 5. I should be most happy to discuss participation in the project with those interested. Dr. John Cordani Schools of Business Adelphi University Garden City, NY 11530 (516) 663 1182 (My host system will be down from Feb 17 to Feb 24 from maint problems.)
Please report problems with the web pages to the maintainer