Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

“Steal This Book” — the Sequel

Now intellectually — rationally — I know this is just plain wrong. It’s WRONG! But Goddamnit, my Inner Sickfuck thinks it's hilarious.

Across the country, thousands of high-ranking executives have been receiving bogus e-mails pretending to be a subpoena. If this person clicks on a link in the e-mail, he/she will be downloading spyware that allows hackers to access passwords and other private company information. Gotcha!

Isn’t this already common knowledge? I thought everybody who knows how to click a mouse had already heard thousands of warnings. Don’t open an e-mail if you don’t recognize the sender’s name. Don’t click on any links that you’re not 100% sure of, or you might be downloading some malicious software. Etc.

Where have these VIPs been? And what are they gonna do next, walk across the street without looking both ways? Wash their hands and then turn off the bathroom light switch while their hands are still wet?

My guess is, when you rise to a certain high level, you get so used to being pampered and coddled and sheltered and babysat by a slew of underlings that you can’t even wipe your ass any more. (Anybody hear Lewis Black’s monologue about hiring a ballwasher? But I digress.)

About the title of this post: If you’re younger than a certain age (mid to late 40s maybe), “Steal This Book” is probably just some meaningless phrase. If you’re old enough, Steal This Book will bring back those halcyon memories of anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, acid rock, blacklight posters, and various drugs that went hand in hand with those last two items.

It was Abbie Hoffman’s most popular book — hundreds of ways for an angry revolutionary to fight the Fascist Power Structure by ripping off The Man (using a little ‘60s terminology). It’s an entertaining book, as dated as it is. (Yes I bought a used copy of the book a few years ago.)

And now Abbie Hoffman can smile from his grave: hijack an executive’s computer and steal all sorts of secret corporate information. A few years ago Spin Magazine had an article about Hacktivism: politically-conscious computer hackers using their skills for noble political goals. I don’t remember reading or hearing anything else about it since that article, but maybe it’s finally catching on.

Instead of phishing, this article uses the term Whaling. Phishing generally means sending out zillions of bogus e-mails, hoping that a certain percentage of gullible people will fall for that scam or click on that link. Whaling means going after a certain big fish — for instance the CEO of a certain company.

VIPs have done a brilliant job of shielding themselves from the real world. They can totally block out the riffraff while they’re being chauffeured around from the gated community to the boardroom to the yacht club. But they have an Achilles Heel — their computers.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Blogger Randal Graves said...

I won't lie, this gives me a happy as well. Of course, looking into the future, all I see are these seven (eight? nine?) figure CEOs firing some 30k/year tech guy who probably sent out dozens of memos on this very danger because the CEO is a fucking out-of-touch moron.

May 7, 2008 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: Yes, it's undoubtedly the fault of that $30K flunkie who was supposed to screen the boss's e-mail messages, make his coffee ("TWO lumps of sugar you F#$%& idiot!"), trim his nose-hairs and wipe his ass. You just can't get good help these days.

May 7, 2008 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bless you, Tom Harper, for giving all our our Inner Sickfucks a grin on this gray day when we still don't have a Democratic nominee, the war in Iraq is still raging, and the economy is in the toilet. At least we can smile about this. :-)

May 7, 2008 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: Thank you. Yes, one's Inner Sickfuck needs a good laugh at a time like this.

May 7, 2008 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Very interesting! I would hope that most of them are smart enough not to fall for it but apparently not.

May 7, 2008 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mauigirl: Yup, it just goes to show, a person can be highly accomplished and wealthy beyond words, and still be gullible.

May 7, 2008 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

My Inner SF is laughing too! I still have the copy of "Steal This Book" I bought in 1977 when I was 20. I also still have my old copy of "A Child's Garden of Grass". Those books, plus all my old R. Crumb and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comics... heh... Some of us used to fly our freak flags a little, back in the days that used to be.

May 7, 2008 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

Indeed, it would appear that they have Achilles brains. That's the only part of them that dones't really work if they're falling for this nonsense.

May 7, 2008 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Speaking of using your skills for noble political goals, contact Hillary Clinton here to ask her to please drop out of the race.

May 7, 2008 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yup, that book definitely goes hand in hand with the Freak Brothers and all those R. Crumb comics, plus Steppenwolf, Jefferson Airplane, Iron Butterfly (yes I liked them, go ahead and laugh), Hendrix, early Zeppelin...those were the days...

Mile High Pixie: Achilles brains, LOL. I can't believe a grade school dropout would still be falling for those phishing scams, let alone a 6- or 7-figure executive.

Lew: Done. Thanks for the link.

May 7, 2008 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

"The success rate was incredibly high." Now that really makes me laugh and say what goes around comes around.

May 7, 2008 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Let's Talk: Yup, Karma is a bitch. What goes around comes around.

May 7, 2008 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Hilarious! You'd think people as high paid and as smart as these retards would've known that subpoenas don't come in the fucking email.

May 8, 2008 at 2:49 AM  
Blogger rockync said...

OMG! I haven't thought about that book in years! It created such a outcry when it was first published. The Establishment insisted there would be total anarchy and that my generation would take over. Too bad we never made it that far. It was pretty funny though when people started stealing the books. I'm sure Abbie is reaching out from the grave to give these guys one more kick in the ass,just for old times...

May 8, 2008 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: Yeah, it's hard to believe somebody could fall for that. It reminds me of some of the pranks people used to play on each other when I was in the Navy: tricking somebody into going out on the weatherdeck to look for the mail buoy, or sending somebody on a wild goose chase looking for a skyhook or some waterline.

Rockync: Yup, that book brings back memories. I saw it in a book store a few years ago and just had to buy it. It looks so quaint and dated now, even though at the time it was "Oh my God!" But most of those badass revolutionaries from the '60s are either dead or they're pulling down seven figures on Wall Street.

May 8, 2008 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Rob Domanski said...

You're totally right that the "pranks" mentioned can also be viewed as as a form of protest action. It's a great demonstration of civil disobedience, so long as nothing malicious is actually being transferred.

May 28, 2008 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Rob Domanski said...

You're totally right that the "pranks" mentioned can also be viewed as as a form of protest action. It's a great demonstration of civil disobedience, so long as nothing malicious is actually being transferred.

May 28, 2008 at 10:12 AM  

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