[ISN] Follow-up on the Blitzkrieg Server tale

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Tue May 12 1998 - 01:02:53 PDT

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    Forwarded From: "Prosser, Mike" <Mike_Prosserat_private>
    [FYI-  had this fwd'd to me on "Blitzkrieg Server" I send out last
    week...the Crypt Newsletter does lots of stories on the "far-fetched"
    stories that are published/appear in magazine or on the Net.  The editor
    has the same disbelief of this "wunder-kind" server that we should all
    have...just expresses it better, I think.......I still would be
    interested if anyone is at the Tech show where this server is supposed
    to be demonstrated would let me know how it went... - Mike]
    > http://www.soci.niu.edu/~crypt/other/blitz.htm
    >  "In a significant Internet breakthrough that could enhance electronic
    > commerce and protect sensitive corporate and government data, computer
    > scientists have developed a new virus that automatically launches a
    > lethal counter offensive against hackers."
    Written in the pseudo-authoritative tone that's become the watermark of
    corporate exaggeration, the above blurb came in over the electronic
    transom via the Business Newswire on May 6.
    It makes the assumption that most Americans -- including magazine
    editors -- are certified ninnies fresh from the Roman province of
    Paphlagonia, where the populace gained the reputation of extreme
    stupidity, ready to swallow even the grossest delusion.
    The Business Newswire press release breathlessly continued, ". . . a
    growing echelon of chief technology officers are likening the stealthy,
    anti-hacker virus to the digital equivalent of Star Wars technology:
    once a computer server detects an attack on its security it launches a
    killer virus that knocks out the computer on the other end by destroying
    both software and hardware." 
    The miraculous software is called a "Blitzkrieg server."
    Alert readers of Crypt Newsletter will note the conflation of two myths
    in the sales pitch: The computer virus that destroys hardware and . . .
    Star Wars, which existed only on paper.
    The Business Newswire release injected a good amount of phlogiston into
    the mix, attributing quotes to an editor named Clarence A. Robinson of
    Signal magazine, who stated for the hype machine, "This has profound
    implications for the Internet . . . [Many are] worried a hacker will
    someday succeed in stealing or destroying sensitive data . . . missile
    silo locations, that kind of stuff. But this new nonlinear algorithm
    means a successful penetration could be a hacker's worst nightmare."
    However, the real gems are found in the May issue of Signal magazine,
    AFCEA's journal for information systems workers.
    In an article on the "Blitzkrieg server," Robinson combines ferociously
    impenetrable techno-gobble, a loaded wheelbarrow of anonymous sources
    and a doomsday conspiracy of unnamed Japanese and American hackers
    thwarted by "Blitzkrieg."
    ". . . the Blitzkrieg server is a self-programmed, fault-immune,
    ubiquitous virus-like system," he writes.
    Developed by a Santa Fe, New Mexico, scientist named Larry Wood,
    Blitzkrieg is a product of the (and Crypt Newsletter is not making this
    up) Network Waffen Und Munistionsfabriken [sic] Group.
    Robinson quotes an unnamed (of course, it always must be this way) CIA
    "information security specialist" who said the Blitzkrieg server's
    "digital life form" was "potentially more dangerous than nuclear
    weapons." Another yahoo, this one a "law enforcement agent" of equally
    nebulous origin, is called upon to state for the record that
    "[Blitzkrieg]" is a computer virus with an attitude."
    Scientist Wood is credited with forming an "advanced machine
    intelligence information warfare group" used to solve "intractable"
    information warfare problems at DoD.
    For Signal, Wood claimed that Blitzkrieg had been responsible for
    determining "Japanese nationals," in cooperation with the "2600
    international hacker group," were about to attack U.S. corporations and
    state government offices in California.
    Blitzkrieg thwarted the Japanese attack after "thousands" of Americans
    and "hundreds" of corporations were affected.
    The State Department declined to file a protest or notify the media, the
    Signal article indicates.
    And now, lest your attention be wandering, comes the really good part.
    Apparently, the "Blitzkrieg server" is powered by "self-programmed
    adaptive automatacapsids--variable length string transformation rules."
    "When examined on an individual basis, no automatacapsid in and of
    itself has any meaning," said Wood for Signal. "The automatacapsid only
    has value in the context of the distributed Blitzkrieg server network
    collective . . . the adaptive automatacapsids, like fragments of a
    living virus without a host cell, transform one another and data, and
    they spontaneously generate or regenerate new automatacapsids to meet
    every conceivable complex data analysis need."
    Hold it. Just a little further. Crypt Newsletter is not done yet.
    Wood goes on to say to Signal that his "automatacapsids" make the
    "Blitzkrieg server" invincible. And they are dependent on another Wood
    discovery -- the "unified general equation of motion -- or UGEM."
    Readers are informed the Wood Unified General Equation of Motion has
    something to do with the control of complexity and all organization in
    nature. So Blitzkrieg, the scientist claimed in Signal, is "the first
    true virus-like collective digital life form."
    All of this material is, of course, hooked to a sales pitch by a company
    called The FutureVision Group.
    Ultimately, all the fantastic lore is aimed at getting the interested
    investor or potential buyer to a high tech conference in Washington,
    D.C., in June in which the "Blitzkrieg server" will be used to "simulate
    a computer attack that disables a defense agency by making it impossible
    to launch any missiles."
    Notes: For those readers with an excessively dry sense of humor Crypt
    Newsletter suggests much of this particular story seems accidentally
    cloned from "Killswitch," an episode of The X-Files that aired earlier
    this television season. In "Killswitch," a group of computer scientists,
    one from Santa Fe, created the first digital life form -- a series of
    "concatenated automata viruses." Scully and Mulder, along with the
    bumbling editors of Lone Gunman magazine, tracked the intelligent
    software to a crumbling trailer filled with computer hardware parked in
    the woods near Fairfax, Virginia. The original Business Newswire from
    May 6 was datelined -- Fairfax.
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