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Cyber Zombie threats will kill the internet

September 14, 2014

A machine war rages, and the zombies are us, the rotting flesh inside the machine. We are all cyborg zombies. What makes us human is not composed entirely of our biology but also in an idea-space. Stories and technology frame our identity. Zombies relate to this cyborg postpunk future of hackers and war.

Io9: “The 12 Worst Cyborg Movies Of All Time” by Rob Bricken:

Before the zombie craze, if you wanted to make a cheap genre movie with a decent shot of making your money back, you made a cyborg film.

And recall mention “zombie” of 1995 cyberpunk movie “Johnny Mnemonic“, the hacker portrayed by Ice-T interrupts broadcast fear-mongering about the “black shakes”, which later we learn can be cured but the Yakuza would prefer to profit instead of release the cure (note similarity to plot from the final season of HBO‘s “True Blood” and to the habits of pharmaceutical companies, and particularly about HIV medication patents in developing countries):

Snatch back your brain zombie, snatch it back and hold it.

HBO is relevant to a discussion of computer fraud because many people access HBO without authorization through the use of a “borrowed” HBOgo password. That violation of user agreement could be prosecuted as a crime under federal law as an unauthorized access to computer under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Most people who do this do not consider themselves hackers.

Entrepreneur: “Prepare for the Attack of the Data-Sucking Cyber Zombies” by Andrew Van Noy:

The data-sucking cyber zombies have attacked again! … If you don’t know what a cyber zombie looks like, or what possible symptoms of an attack are, there is no way to protect yourself. … Once you know what possible symptoms of cyber zombie attacks on your system may look like, it is essential to perform routine security checks.

KETK: “Obamacare site hacked but nothing taken, HHS says“:

It was actually malware meant to turn the computer server into a zombie machine, part of a robot network, or botnet, to spews out spam or computer viruses to the rest of us.

KOCO: “Study finds traffic signals can be hacked” by Kim Passoth:

Hackers have hit in Oklahoma before. Drivers on Interstate 44 in Tulsa were warned of a “zombie invasion” in 2011

PCMag: “Can Your Home be Hacked? Possibly.” by Fahmida Y. Rashid:

He uploaded malware on the storage device to turn it into a zombie on a botnet.

ComputerWorld: “Digital graffiti: Zombie-loving hackers hack road sign” by Darlene Storm :

I don’t think anyone has wrecked after being warned of “Zombies Ahead,” as happened in Colorado alongside the Boulder Foothills Parkway this week. Zombie-loving hackers have been warning motorists of upcoming zombies via hacked electronic construction signs for about eight years. The Boulder Daily Camera reported the hack and spoke to Stephen Jones who teaches a zombie class at the University of Colorado. Jones said, “It’s a victimless crime — it’s just changing something that can be undone really quickly. And I don’t think anyone’s going to drive their car off the road when they see the sign.” He added that seeing the sign would likely brighten anyone’s day.

The simple hacks are everywhere, most don’t do a lot of damage, are equivalent to graffiti but prosecuted as the worst threat on society. Our new society is built in this cyber-space, an idea space of machine. Even the slightest graffiti must be prosecuted severely because in a world made entirely of language, the defacement of even the tiniest code could potentially have wide reaching ramifications. In practice, changing one road sign is an irrelevant joke, but changing one electronic sign on the stock exchange would be technologically similar. The machines control our lives and so any interference will not be tolerated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the authority. Recall the graffiti scene from the 1993 movie “Demolition Man“.

Apple’s new watch provides ‘heartbeat sharing’, so recall 1995’s “Strange Days“. But we are far away from any kind of neuro-recording and experience sharing in that movie. Neuroscience continues to make progress but remained largely a failed vision. The good technologies we have require the head to stay motionless, we have no good technologies for measuring human brain activity outside the laboratory.

The gaming world is heading toward further immersion, and for a detailed history of the rise and fall of VR, see The Verge: “The State of Virtual Reality” by Matthew Schnipper:

The graphics were still basic but the experience was, surprisingly, lifelike. For the first time ever, one could casually wander through a comically realistic rendering of Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment. Or hack a zombie to death.

The world is already a virtual reality, and new technology continues to emphasize the separation between the person and her body. Recall “Selfies and Auschwitz” and consider the way that being human means being framed within language and symbols, long before the internet. The internet just speeds access and provides new opportunities and new threats.

Students learn to fight these cyber zombie threat:

TechDay: “Cyber security a challenge for students” by Catherine Murray:

The University of Waikato is to host a ‘zombie apocalypse’ cyber security challenge where students will attempt to access secure networks in search of an antidote.

See also Geekzone: “Cyber experts battle zombie outbreak“:

Cyber security experts will be put to the test next week when a staged zombie apocalypse will see them trying to access secure networks in search of an antidote.

These threats are changing. The Syrian Electronic Army is a significant hacker group. The NATO nations have all agreed to stand together in face of cyber attack, see ArsTechnica: “In case of cyber attack: NATO members ready to pledge mutual defense” by Robert Lemos.

So the ways we secure this space must change, see Ars Technica: “Antivirus pioneer Symantec declares AV “dead” and “doomed to failure”” by Dan Goodin. Antivirus is dead. Long live antivirus.

Consider joining the Battle for the Net: Sept. 10th was the Internet Slowdown – did anyone even notice??? Maybe visit EFF’s: “Dear FCC“!

Technology is expensive and they want us to believe that paying is good- see The Indian Republic: “We May Need to Pay for Internet – For Our Own Good” by Sarah Abraham:

here’s when you need to know about zombie cookies and Evercookies. These are basically cookies that will get their claws into you even if you disable third-party cookies. Zombie cookies help connect the data previously collected by a third-party cookie from your browser with the new data, even if in the interval, you wiped your browser clean (or so you thought) of all cookies. Using a different browser will not help, either, because zombie cookies are stored in a folder common to all browsers. Basically, if you visit them once, you can try to delete the cookies as much as you want, but they’ll just keep coming back from beyond – hence the name.

Or we can fight for a free and open internet, with access for everyone. Tell the FCC how you feel about applying rules of common carriers to ISPs. And fight for open access to information. If you believe you should be entitled to use your friend’s HBOgo password, then you should lobby your Congress to make that the law. If you want a free internet that is also protected from spam, should that be private expensive walled gardens or can we secure it for everyone?

Be careful, as with many zombie issues, it can be dangerous to lobby for things that are criminalized. Though they have many differences, hackers should look to marijuana reform activists to identify best practices for lobbying changes to criminal law. Like in the 1999 movie “The Matrix” anyone might become zombie host for Agent Smith in this Big Brother world where business partners are encouraged to snitch on each other for cash reward- see, “AN INITIATIVE OF BSA, The Software Alliance, Report Software Piracy Now!” (see also the 2006 Keanu movie “A Scanner Darkly“). As in “The X-Files“: “Trust no one.” (trust the many) “The truth is out there.” (so out there, you wouldn’t believe it).

woman red dress in the matrix

The future is a reflection of 1990s. How it reflects is up to us. The corporations are already putting cookies in our minds. There is no suitable antivirus, and what does exist is expensive. We need government to defend us from the Yakuza, but too often it become an enforcement arm for them. Congress has the power to set the terms for patent and copyright protections for the good of the people. It’s time to reduce those protections for the good of the people. Lobby for stronger fair use protections.


From → computers

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