Handheld; Script kiddies; Flat-rate pipedream

So, Microsoft decided to be kind to Jeffrey Lee Parsons, the 19-year-old who wrote the Blaster virus.

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- In the name of the handheld game

- Script kiddie stars

- Flat-rate pipedream?

- In the name of the handheld game

Mmm … wonder if Paul Holmes played this back in 1981?

- Script kiddie stars

So, Microsoft decided to be kind to Jeffrey Lee Parsons, the 19-year-old who wrote the Blaster virus. Instead of having to pay half a million US dollars in restitution for his viral oeuvres that created havoc in 2003, Parsons gets away with 75 hours of community service a year for three years. This follows on top of his 18-month prison sentence plus three years supervision and another 100 hours of community service.

While some may argue that Parsons got off lightly despite the severe damage he caused compared to New Zealand hacking cases he really had the book thrown at him. Over here, prison sentences are rare and community service with low restitutions is the norm. If the digital vandal in question is under 18, we’re talking about a few Family Conferences and wrists out for the wet CYFS bus ticket treatment at the most.

Coupled with the fondness of media to swoon over the cleverness of hackers you have wonder what sort of message is being sent out. Want your five minutes of fame? Just download some canned sploits from the internet and call the reporters. You’ll end up being glorified as a “white hacker” (the black/grey/white hat nomenclature seems too complex for mainstream media) and maybe even appear on TV as a “former child prodigy”.

I’ve talked to a few script kiddies about this, and they openly admit to manipulating the media to have their vanity stroked. They don’t fear legal repercussions much and are savvy enough to know that up until the legal age, it’s pretty much open slather for them. Carding, ID fraud, organising Denial of Service attacks, spamming, spreading viruses – you name it, they won’t end up as bunk buddies in prison for it.

This makes for an interesting situation when it comes to reporting about such IT crimes, as you can imagine. Do we or don’t we?

- Microsoft gives Blaster author a break on damages

- Phishing attacks rose slightly in February, says group

- Internet crime soars by over 350pc

- Flat-rate pipedream?

Orcon’s early gamble on offering flat-rate accounts over UBS DSL came to an end this week. The ISP clearly hadn’t bargained for people to actually take them up on the offer, and exercise their 256/128kbit/s connections hard. But they did, and Orcon’s network couldn’t handle it.

I’ve written about this dilemma before, which is caused by ISPs having to resell bandwidth and share it out amongst their customers. Unlike in the UK however, you’re not told how many other users share your bandwidth. As wholesale bandwidth is hugely more expensive in New Zealand than anywhere else, it’s a fair assumption that your pipe will have lots of other customers on it, well above the 20–50 ratios that are advertised in Britain.

It came as a surprise nevertheless that even the low-speed UBS was able to choke Orcon’s network. If a comparatively small number of 256kbit/s UBS customers are able to congest networks like this, how will network providers manage 1 and 2Mbit/s ones? Or the faster ADSL2+ technology?

- Flat-rate DSL deal dies for Orcon customers

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