In the Loop

'Someone set us up the [logic] bomb!'

Posted at 5:31 PM on January 30, 2009 by Steve Mullis (5 Comments)
Filed under: News

This is what happens when you make geeks angry, and fire them from their IT job. Apparently, a recently fired employee of finance company Fannie Mae planted a logic bomb that would have wiped out all 4,000 of Fannie Mae's servers.

This wasn't your average, Office Space, rounding-penny decimel, Monday detail virus. This was a doozy of a bomb. Another UNIX engineer discovered the bomb and the FBI described its intent this way:

... the FBI says the code would have executed a series of other scripts designed to block the company's monitoring system, disable access to the server on which it was running, then systematically wipe out all 4,000 Fannie Mae servers, overwriting all their data with zeroes ... This would also destroy the backup software of the servers making the restoration of data more difficult because new operating systems would have to be installed on all servers before any restoration could begin.

What I find interesting about this is how vunerable so many of our systems are. If this one guy could have taken down Fannie Mae by himself, even for just a week, think about what all of the disgruntled IT people of the country or world could do.

What's that? Microsoft is laying people off? Many IT jobs are being outsourced?

/facepalm

Moral of the story: Go and buy your main IT person a cookie or a World of Warcraft gametime card right now, make him your friend.


Comments (5)

"This is what happens when you make geeks angry"

I used to listen to 'Morning Edition' and 'All things considered' for years.

But I noticed that the injustices against tech labor via were 'blacked out' at the same time tech sponsors started showing up on NPR.

Even worse, a culture that is forever admonishing us to be 'sensitive' throws around slurs (nerd, 'geek') wholesale.

"Moral of the story: Go and buy your main IT person a cookie or a World of Warcraft gametime card right now, make him your friend."

If someone made an offhand remark about a politically protected class 1/10th as offensive as that, NPR people would be tripping all over themselves denouncing it.

Tech companies arent helping sponsor a public message, the taxpayer is helping sponsor a corporate one.

NPR is scum, and I support ending all tax dollars for it

Posted by Ex- Public radio listener | February 1, 2009 11:25 AM


and another thing - the whole 'geek/nerd' stereotype is a vicious one created by the media, with very little basis in fact

prior to the mid 1990s, the tech worker model was the polished blue or grey suited IBM consultant, with starched laundered shirt.

the heavy 'geek' stereotype started showing up in the media about the same time that tech companies brought out the H-1b baseball bat onto tech labor - it's a lot easier to crush a group that has a negative image

NPR is in truth, everything it claims to be against. It's not about sociel justice, it's about protected classes

And anyone to doesnt pay that protection to NPR, 'well, something bad might happen to your career'

NPR is little more than a taxpayer subsidized protection racket

Posted by Ex- Public radio listener | February 1, 2009 11:33 AM


A better explanation is that Makwana wanted to destroy the Fannie Mae data because it implicated some powerful people, or possibly himself. Since things at Fannie Mae have been so fishy, the way to get revenge on the higher ups would be to *leave it all there.*

And why would Makwana do something so silly like this seeing as it could easily put him in an American prison for a decade, just to get revenge on someone he did *contract* work for? It doesn't make sense.

Posted by Chris | February 2, 2009 2:56 AM


Just FYI. The reason I am comfortable making those comments is that:
A) I am a nerd/geek/tech person

B) I play World of Warcraft (and would love some free game time!)

and C) it's sarcasm and this is a blog.

Personally, I find the modern use of the word 'Geek' (not the earlier, chicken-head biting usage) as a compliment and am flattered by it. Most people I know that fit the "label", as misplaced as it may be, are the same way.

The meat of the post was about how vunerable our IT systems are in the face of thousands of layoffs in the tech industry both locally and abroad (which you seem to have missed.)

I'm certainly not bowing down to some imaginary, N(M)PR-promoted oppression of the tech classes, a group that, as we all know, has been oppressed since the days of yore when Gottfried Leibniz, Ben Franklin and Isaac Newton were forced to do in math problems and science experiments for their freedom.

Posted by Steve Mullis | February 2, 2009 2:00 PM


Steve M says

"Personally, I find the modern use of the word 'Geek' (not the earlier, chicken-head biting usage) as a compliment and am flattered by it. Most people I know that fit the "label", as misplaced as it may be, are the same way."

would you defend someone who used the 'N-word" in a 'positive' way, because they saw that many young African Americans affectionatly tossed it around with each other?

or would that be RACIST?!?

Most tech workers do NOT like being called that, and consider it a slur. I remember as a little kid, that I was always to address my father's partners as 'Dr."

One thing I've noticed about public radio types, it that they can offer criticism, but they cant take it

I hope any layoffs from lowered contributions include you


Posted by Ex-public radio listener | February 2, 2009 2:36 PM


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