>From the 'Los Angeles Times' 2-Oct-89: Hundreds of independent employees who worked for Wells Fargo Co. two years ago were stunned to learn of a computer error that multiplied their earnings by 100 before passing on the information to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS, eager to collect Uncle Sam's share, has written to the taxpayers, demanding an explanation for the discrepancies between the Wells Fargo reports and the recipients' 1987 tax returns. "I was panicked. They moved the decimal point two places to the right," real estate appraiser Harold M. Samuelson told the Salinas Californian.
This item, taken from "Computing Australia" 2nd October, should warm the cockles of a few hearts... ``Hackwatch spokesman charged Self-styled computer security expert Paul Dummett, alias Stuart Gill, has been charged with making false reports to the Victoria Police following an investigation into claims he made in the daily media late in 1988 and early this year. The articles often quoted Gill, introducing himself as a spokesman for either "Hackwatch" or the "DPG monitoring service". Gill claimed hackers in Australia had gained access codes from others in the US and lifted $US500,000 from the International Citibank, US. Other claims: credit card numbers had been posted on bulletin boards for BBS users' access; drugs, including steroids, were being sold using bulletin boards; evidence of this had benn given to the police by informers; and in response, the police had raided several hackers' homes. The police, including the Criminal Investigation Bureau and the Fraud Squad's Computer Section, repeatedly denied the claims. Gill had disappeared, but returned again on September 22 and was charged in the Frankston Magistrates' Court under his real name, Paul Dummett. According to court documents, police investigating Dummett's claims allegedly found Citibank's computer network had not been illegally accessed on its New York number as Dummett had claimed. When Dummett appeared in court his legal aid counsel Serge Sztrajt applied successfully to adjourn the case to October 20. Dummett did not enter a plea.'' Dave Horsfall (VK2KFU), Alcatel STC Australia, email@example.com.AU dave%stcns3.stc.oz.AU@uunet.UU.NET, ...munnari!stcns3.stc.oz.AU!dave
We have also been hit by this person. We managed to trace some of his activities. He broke into an account that saved it's history file and we saw some of what he did to get root access. **** THERE IS A SECURITY HOLE IN V3.0 ULTRIX **** This hole is fixed in 3.1. This problem has not been mentioned in any DEC communications we have received. If you are running 3.0 and this person can break into a normal account, he can get root access with no trouble. Randy Buckland firstname.lastname@example.org
In RISKS-DIGEST 9.27, Will Martin wrote: > I was hoping that someone out there has kept track of and will post a note > listing those magic dates for various OS's and systems. It will be a useful > reference for all of us. The base time for VAX/VMS is November 17, 1858 (which is the base of the Modified Julian Day system). VAX/VMS uses 63-bit absolute time representation (negative values are delta time representations) with a 100 nanosecond granularity therefore the last absolute time value that can be represented is: July 31, 31086 at 02:48:05.47 AM. However, all date/time routines within VAX/VMS allow for only 4 digits for the year field so after 31-DEC-9999 the year field will look like 1-JAN-****. Mike Michael Kimura, Hughes Aircraft Company (RSG), P.O. Box 92426 MS: R2/9A37 Los Angeles, CA 90009 (213) 615-9775
>It has been suggested that if the year is divisible by 4000 then it >should NOT be considered a leap-year. Anyone writing code thats likley >to be around 2000 years hence??? This is actually just a specific manifestation of the fact that calendar reform requires altering timekeeping programs to match. Leap millennia are *not* officially part of the calendar, last I heard; anyone who writes code on that basis has goofed. I do recall some amusing ads for digital watches (back when they were new) whose timekeeping was guaranteed accurate to the year 2099. That is, the designers didn't feel like allowing for leap centuries, and lucked out on the year 2000 following the same rules as normal leap years. Henry Spencer at U of Toronto Zoology
In Risks Digest 9.30 Randall Davis decries the practice of transmitting an image of a clock: > Thousands of TVs? An expensive television camera doing nothing but > sitting there focused on a clock? All those cables, monitors, all that > power, bandwidth to burn on the network, etc.? What a waste of resources indeed! That expensive equipment was meant for Geraldo Rivera, "Roseanne," and reruns of "Family Ties"--not for frivolous ends. I can't wait till we have high-definition television.... (N.B. I do not speak for AT&T!) Col. G. L. Sicherman
A recent report "Macintosh S/W markets: productivity S/W review & forecast, 1998-1993" (International Data Corp, 8/89) predicts that, in 1993, the U.S will buy so many millions, nine hundred twenty-nine thusand, five hundred AND FIFTEEN dollars' worth of Mac word-processing software. The leading digits have been suppressed to protect the publisher's interests; but given that all nine digits have been published, I wouldn't trust them that far anyway. This is a reasonably expensive report (a few hundred $) which probably affects a good many high-level management decisions. I think this tomfoolery is relevant to comp.risks on two grounds: (1) it's a textbook demo of common sense abdicating in the face of "the computer says so"; (2) I was told "that's Excel's default-mode for output" (and -- I think -- other spreadsheets' too). I was also told "that's what they learn in business school!". I hope not. Gideon Yuval, gideony@microsof.UUCP, 206-882-8080 (fax:206-883-8101;TWX:160520)
On the day that New Jersey Transit inaugurated service to Atlantic City, there was a grade crossing accident that provoked a discussion of crossing gate technology on the newsgroup rec.railroad. It is interesting to note how an "old" industry operating in difficult conditions (equipment outside, subject to all sorts of environmental problems, not to mention vandalism) solves a safety problem. Chuck Weinstock >From: beyer@holin.ATT.COM (Jean-David Beyer) I have some notes from General Railway Signal Company on railroad signalling. There are separate sections on Wayside Signals, Crossing Gate Signalling, Cab Signals, Frequency Shift Overlay Signalling, and so on. The stuff is fool-proof, but not damn-fool proof. It cannot keep people from going around crossing gates. If the power source of signalling goes out, signals fail to stop. If rails break, signals fail to stop. If vandals short out the rails, signals go to stop. If insulating joints fail to insulate, signals go to stop. If relays springs break, signals go to stop. If relay coils open, signals go to stop. If a lamp burns out, this is detected and the least restrictive aspect more restrictive than desired is displayed. Get the idea? However, a suitably well-informed vandal could break the rail, having previously put heavy electrical bonds around the gap, and wreck a train. Or he could make his own code transmitters and couple them into the rails (after disabling the real ones). But it is a lot of trouble to do this without attracting the notice of the dispatcher. Basically, when things go wrong, they fail safe. Even when someone around here bumped an extruded aluminum crossing gate so that when it went up it hit the 12500 volt 1500 ampere catenary. It melted the gate and fried a couple of relays in the control bungalow. The gates stayed down until that was fixed. On the other hand, if the gates stay down longer than an unreasonable driver thinks is a reasonable time, he will go around the gate and get hit by a train. Sometimes a train is coming the other way from one that is stopped in a station, such as at Bridge and Monmouth streets in Red Bank. An eastbound train was stopped in the station with the intersection apparently clear. The driver could not wait a few seconds (less than 60) for the train to pull out and started around the gate. Only then did he see the westbound train and stop clear of the other track. That is the kind of damn-fool proof the system is not. Engineers must assume a signal improperly displayed is displaying the most restrictive aspect that the signal is capable of (under most conditions). Car drivers should assume that if a gate is down, that they do not have time to get around the gates. Sometimes they do, but it is a dumb thing to bet your life on. > From: email@example.com (Laurence Larry Sheldon) On the SP Penninsula Line (and others--it seems like) there is a white light that shines down the right-of-way in each direction--if it is a bells and lights only crossing, the light blinks in concert with one of the red lights (in many cases it is a lens in the side of the red lights case). If there is a gate, the white light does not flash unless the gate is down. There seems to be a rule that the train must stop (or maybe it's run dead-slow) if the white light is not blinking. This is based on observation, not knowledge of the facts. > From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Laurence Larry Sheldon) On the SP again--if a train stops at a station (or in areas where switching activity is high) the gates open up again if the train does not cross within some time limit. The engineer has to "whistle" the gate back down (there are post-mounted microphones--actually loudspeakers-used-as- microphones) before proceeding. On some non-main line tracks there is a "STOP" sign at the pavement (White on rectangylar red)--when the train gets to the stop sign, the gates come down. > From: beyer@cbnewsh.ATT.COM (jean-david.beyer) G.R.S. have some motion detector circuits available. I do not know if they use doppler detectors, or rate of change of signal amplitude, or what. But they are used where there is a lot of switching activity near a grade crossing. If a train starts toward a crossing at over 2 mph, the gates come down. If the train stops, the gates go back up. If the train resumes, the gates come down again. If the train reverses (goes away from the intersection), the gates stay up. Costly enough that they are not used much around here. But there is little switching on the NJ Coast Line. I have been told that some such units estimate the speed of the train, and wait a while before putting the gates down if the train is coming slowly. This seems theoretically possible, but I have seen no written information about that. > From: beyer@holin.ATT.COM (Jean-David Beyer) None of the Operating Rules I have read (but I have only about a 1974 Central Railroad of New Jersey and a NORAC from early 1988) specifically discuss such lights. <<The blinking white light referred to previously...CBW<> However, my G.R.S. notes say that if the white light does not flash (the one you can see out the side of the red flashers for motorists), the signal maintainer should be notified. (I.e., the signals are not working.) There are rules dealing with flagging over grade crossings. I do not remember them exactly, but they deal with situations where the flagman has defeated the crossing protection (by putting a key in a lock switch) for local switching. Then he must provide flag protection until the train physically blocks the intersection (unless he can resume the crossing protection for some period of time before the train movement is resumed). > From: rich@linus.UUCP (Richard L. Piazza) I have noticed that the amount of time between the lowering of the gates and the actual passage of the train is sometimes VERY long. I never would go thru the gates, but I am sometimes tempted -- especially when everybody else is doing it. I bet less people would try to go thru the gates if there was less of a time lag. Has anybody else noticed this? Is there a standard for the amount of time that the gate must be down before the train arrives? > From: beyer@holin.ATT.COM (Jean-David Beyer) I think you are right: if gates went down only a short time before the arrival of the train (or, more exactly, before the train occupied the crossing), and then went up as soon as the train departed, less people would go around. I do not know what the standard times are, but I am sure they exist. I do know that around here, they flash the lights and ring the bell for 6 seconds before the gates come down. Unless the lights and gates are coupled to the municipal traffic signals. Then they get a little more time, so the traffic signals get a chance to go red across the tracks. For ordinary crossing circuits, the gates come down when the train hits the approach track. Since, around here, no insulated joints are required for the gates (Frequency Shift Overlay circuits), the approach can be any length decided upon by the railroad. But it must be long enough so that the fastest train will get the gates down in time. Since rules prohibit speeds in excess of 79 miles per hour where there are grade crossings, you can calculate the amount of approach track needed if you know how much advance warning you need (someone who got on the tracks as the gate closed behind him needs time to get off before getting hit by the train). But if a train is going significantly slower, the gates can be down quite a while. My "calibrated eyeball" says the approaches to the Red Bank New Jersey crossings are about 1/2 mile long. What seems to annoy people around here is when the train is stopped in the station. The gate is down because the train is about to leave. But it may be there a while if people take a long time to get off and on. THis makes people want to go around the gates. By Murphy's law, there will be an unseen train coming the other way that will hit them. Luckily, I have never seen an accident like that, but I saw a close one recently. Also, if it has not rained for a long time, lots of potentially conductive crap builds up on the ballast. When the rain first starts, this can bring down the gates until it washes off. When you figure that the resistance between the rails can go as low as 1/4 ohm from rain and dirt, and that the shunting resistance of the trains can go up as high as 0.06 ohm, it does not leave the signal system with a lot to work with. Movement detectors could put the gates up if a train stops or slows down appreciably. But they cost much more. At Long Branch, the gates are up even when the train is on the approach to the crossing, since the trains stay there to wait for the shuttle from Bay Head. To make the signal go from Restricting to Approach-Limited, the conductor operates a key in a lock that puts the gates down. This is a nuisance, but it must have been considered to be cheaper than motion detectors. There may well be a grandfather clause that permits old stuff to be used. The railroads do not seem to have a lot of money to pay for capital improvements whenever something new comes out.
Fifth Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (formerly the Aerospace Computer Security Applications Conference) December 4-8, 1989 Westward Look Hotel, Tucson, Arizona Sponsored by IEEE Technical Committee on Privacy and Security American Society for Industrial Security Aerospace Computer Security Associates Conference Highlights Keynote Speaker: Senator Dennis DeConcini (D - Arizona) Luncheon Speakers: Mr. Charles. T. Force, NASA and Mr. Dave Fitzsimmons, Cartoonist, Arizona Daily Sun Distinguished Lecture in Computer Security: "INFOSEC: Where Are We Going?", Stephen T. Walker, Trusted Information Systems Tutorial Program Monday, 4 December 1989 "Secure System Design - An Introduction", Morrie Gasser, DEC "Database Security", Teresa Lunt, SRI Tuesday, 5 December 1989 "Secure System Design - Advanced", Virgil Gligor, University of Maryland "A New Approach to Network Security", Jerome Lobel, Lobel Consulting "Computer Crime", Ms. Gail Thackeray, Arizona Assistant Attorney General Technical Program, Wednesday - Friday, 6-8 December 1989 Technical Paper Sessions + Architecture for Trusted Systems + Network Security + Cryptographic Applications + Architecture and Mechanisms + Security Policy and Models + Risk Management + Software Development for Security + Data Base Security I & II + Security for Command and Control + Audit Applications + Trusted Distribution Panel Sessions + Computer Crime + Data Base Design for MLS + TCB Subset Issues + Human Issues + Gemini Users + International INFOSEC Standards + Integrity + Shoot Out at the OSI Security Corral + Civil Sector Security + Security Standards for Open Systems + Space Station Information Security + Data Integrity and Security for Computer Aided Acquisition and Logistics Support (CALS) Special Events Biosphere II: a prototype of the Earth for the future, Sonora Desert Museum: living animals and plants of the Sonoran Desert Region Additional Information For a copy of the advance program, which includes rates, schedule, registration form, and special activities, contact: Diana Akers, Publicity Chair, (703) 883-5907 email@example.com Victoria Ashby, Co-Chair, (703) 883-6368 firstname.lastname@example.org The MITRE Corporation, 7525 Colshire Dr., McLean, VA 22102 For exhibit informtion, contact Robert D. Kovach, Exhibits Chair, (202) 453-1182, email@example.com
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