[ISN] Things Better Left Undone (read: scathing hacker article)

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Sep 25 1998 - 02:15:06 PDT

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    [Moderator: This piece is amusing because of the scathing words leveled at
    Forwarded From: jonnyx <jonnyxat_private>
    Nashville Scene - August 27, 1998
    "Online" column, by James Hanback, Jr.
    "Things Better Left Undone"
         At a hacker convention - yes, they have a convention - a group of
    hackers released some new hacker software they call "Back Orifice,"  a pun
    on Microsoft's BackOffice. The hackers claim that Back Orifice can allow
    hackers complete, unobstructed access to an individual's desktop and hard
    drive on any PC running Windows '95 or Windows '98.  (They claim to be
    working on an NT version). For the hackers to get access, a user must
    unwittingly download Back Orifice from the Internet to their own computer. 
         Microsoft says you'd have to be pretty stupid to download a file from
    an untrusted source, but I'm sure Back Orifice can find its way around. 
         And now these hackers - who claim to have written Back Orifice for
    the *good* of the computer industry - have created it, security risks on
    the Internet are that much greater. 
         Thanks a lot, guys. 
         Hackers claim they write this kind of software to reveal security
    holes in software so that manufacturers can fix them. Fine, but the group
    that created Back Orifice also allows it to be downloaded freely from the
    Internet by any psychotic geek who desires to see what his fatal
    attraction has stored on her hard drive. 
         Forgive me if I question the hackers' intentions. If they meant well,
    they wouldn't be demonstrating their software to the world at large.
    They'd be sharing it with Microsoft, who could then fix the problem. 
         Here's my advice to computer users who fear Back Orifice: Don't
    download files from sources you don't know or don't trust. And start
    asking Microsoft for a fix. So far, the company has not released any
    indication that it plans to secure Windows against Back Orifice. 
         How do we know that hackers have become a danger to society?  The
    White House took special precautions to make sure no one could intercept
    the closed-circuit broadcast of the president's testimony to Kenneth
    Starr's grand jury. If the White House is worried about the problem, we'd
    probably better be worried too. 
         And if you meet a hacker named Sir Dystic (the individual who
    released Back Orifice, and whose name is an obvious play on "sadistic"),
    punch him in the nose. Or maybe you can just sue him for invasion of
         In fact, "hacker" is too mild a term for people who try to force a
    corporation's hand by threatening the computing safety of millions of
    innocent people. By that definition, these people are not hackers; they're
    cyber-terrorists.  --
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