Spam Zombies; UBS; Sun of Open Source

Top Stories - Attack of the Nazi Spam Zombies - Unviable Bitstream Service? - The Sun of Open Source

Top Stories

- Attack of the Nazi Spam Zombies

- Unviable Bitstream Service?

- The Sun of Open Source

- It’s the call of the WigHat, my Voodoo dollies

Quiet week this one, thanks to Betsy’s B-Day. Nothing much happened until someone waved The Great Magic Chicken Foot around and all of a sudden …

- Attack of the Nazi Spam Zombies!

The festering CPUs awoke, the rotting hard drives started grinding and the putrid spam oozed out all over the Internet from the Army of Zombie Windows PCs in New Zealand and around the world. This time the spam for pills that turn you into a human tripod or the usual Mariam Abacha-grams however.

Instead, the spam had a highly unpleasant Deutsche Twist: ahead of this Sunday’s European Union elections, an Internet-savvy band of extremist gauleiters had obtained control over a large amount of compromised PCs and sent out anti-immigrant propaganda through them.

In typical spammer fashion, the xenophobes didn’t care where the messages went, so New Zealanders opening their email inboxes were served a wodge of German anti-immo propaganda.

Nor did they bother to translate them so unless you’re conversant in the language of Goethe, the spam didn’t make a huge amount of sense. The stiff-arm crowd isn’t known for its linguistic skills, clearly.

The spam run caused plenty of additional work for New Zealand ISP staff, with ensuing cries of fines and enforced education for users who didn’t bother patching their PCs or running antiviruses.

Microsoft also despaired at yet another large-scale spam attack featuring Windows Zombies, according to MSNZ platform strategy manager Brett Roberts. “Microsoft needs to find a way to get the ‘Protect Your PC’ message across,” he said.

Nothing seems to help, however, now that Zombie boxes are being traded amongst spammers and political extremists. Maybe sacrificing virtual virgins to the Internet Loa would work? Jetstream users with Trojaned PCs and without flat-rate accounts will be praying on billing day, that much is for sure...

Compromised PCs used for massive xenophobic spam run

Origins of Voodoo

- Unviable Bitstream Service?

Come September, and Cowpoke Commissioner Webb’s vision of unbundled broadband will be with us. That’s official, now that Telecom has invited providers to have a chat about the Bitstream service.

I can’t get excited about 256/128kbit/s DSL however, and I suspect ISPs aren’t exactly dancing a jig at the prospect of reselling yet another low-margin Telecom service either.

The service, officially known as Unbundled Bitstream Service or UBS, requires Telecom voice lines. Yep, no avoiding the line rental then. To ensure that ISPs will share the pain of customers switching from a Telecom provided DSL service to an independent ISP with UBS, a $150 “churn fee” will be payable. ISPs will have to wear that, because who in their right mind would switch to a UBS provider that passed on the “churn fee”?

Maybe UBS isn’t as bad as it seems at first, but off the record comments from ISPs have been along the lines of “I suppose we’ll have to offer it to remain competitive, but we’re not going to make any money on it”.

How much more of the same before Webb pulls the burr out from underneath his saddle for another look?

Telecom unveils bitstream service for providers

- The Sun of Open Source

As the planet named after a female tennis player passed in front of the glowing gaseous globe, it occurred to me that I haven’t played with any of Sun Microsoft… I mean Microsystem’s products for ages. Last time around, I installed Solaris for x86 on a 500MHz Pentium III with 128MB RAM. That was the dog’s proverbials in PC-land at the time, and it ran Windows and BeOS really well, not to mention Linux.

Solaris on the other hand turned out to be keener on spinning the hard disk than doing anything useful as such, and I still dry-retch at the thought of slow as molasses Java-based browser that was used to display the system help files. The command line tools were a bit like the GNU ones, however, except very user-unfriendly and not nearly as useful. For instance, if you pinged a host, you saw output like:

> ping is alive

… until you figured out the right switch for “ping” which made it behave more like you expected. After spending too much time hunting around for GNU tools I took Solaris off the machine and went with a Linux distribution instead. Life’s too short.

That said, Solaris scales to huge systems with over 100 CPUs and provides 64-bit computing now, so I’m sure there are plenty of admins who hug their Sun boxes every day and think the likes of me are being ignorant Leenucks/BSD weenies.

Maybe so, but Sun has a sop for us low-end lusers nibbling at its market share. Solaris is going Open Source, said Sun’s COO Schwartz in Shanghai. That makes Solaris sort of interesting, as if you have the time and inclination, you could hack the most annoying bits into shape.

But when will all this happen? Sun won’t say, nor what the license will be. GPL doesn’t look likely, because Schwartz said Sun doesn’t want Solaris split into Linux-like distributions. That argument doesn’t make total sense, as Linux is a kernel without userland, but never mind.

Unfortunately for Sun, arch-UNIX foe SCO is still alive and suing. The prospect of a big UNIX vendor releasing its source code for everyone to goggle at has SCO getting its attack lawyers ready.

Sun to open source Solaris

SCO may restrict Solaris, moves to push IBM trial back

Sun Solaris home page

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