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Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Blitzkrieg server computer virus, part 4

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Sunday, 28 June 1998 CONTROVERSY CONTINUES TO surround the Blitzkrieg server computer virus. Let's start with a bizarre quote from FutureVision's website:
"UGEM Lightning War Server™ + Unstoppable SIU Delivery System = Strategic Interdiction = LIMIT(Nuclear Warheads + Launch Vehicles)" — Laurence F. Wood, discover of the UGEM, creator of the Lightning Server/SIU system concept, responding to a reporter's question concerning the recent events in India.
("Discover of the UGEM"?)
Did Larry Wood create a computer virus out of condensed matter?
Alert Internet users chimed in with their own research. One person[2] noticed FutureVision's Yahoo! entry lists them as "developers of self-organizing condensed matter computational systems." Did Larry Wood actually create a computer virus out of condensed matter? Another alert Internet user discovered Wood's glowing recommendation for an NNTP server package. His lengthy second paragraph summarized FutureVision as:
  • the world's largest around-the-clock commercial network mining operation
  • sitting on a fiber-based parallel distributed processing network with high-bandwidth optical pipelines and several wideband satellite downlinks
  • which they use to automatically translate/analyze Usenet postings in multiple languages for international government & corporate clients
  • who paid them $2 million in revenues over a three-month period
  • and who will pay another $4 million in a future three-month period.
The skeptic in me wants to inspect their quarterly tax filings for those periods... Copyrighted Wolfenstein MIDI Another alert Internet user noticed FutureVision used a copyrighted MIDI file on their default home page. It apparently comes from the old Wolfenstein game — which makes sense when you realize FutureVision claims to own a company called "Deutsche Waffen[1] und Munistionsfabriken corporation." The tone of the music befits a firm where heavily armed ex-Marines get paid to spread unstoppable computer viruses. (We'll talk more about those ex-Marines in a moment.) Speaking of audio: this WAV file also appeared on FutureVision's default home page. You may need to turn up the volume to hear a Borg queen say "I am Guardian, the voice of the collective." You can even communicate with the Borg queen at borg.fvg.com (IP address 206.215.145.26). Did you know Blitzkrieg can physically destroy hardware components? FutureVision claims they contrived a spam attack for one experiment. " 'Digital microbe thunder clouds'... emergently appeared to intercept the SPAM [while other 'thunder clouds' converged] on the SPAMING [sic] network resource." This experiment resulted in "total threat elimination and destruction of the test machine, (a Micron computer running Microsoft Windows NT Server)." FutureVision claims the computer needed a replacement motherboard & hard disk thanks to Blitzkrieg's "voracious, preemptive response." Amazingly, Blitzkrieg detected the new components and "assimilated" the test machine into its "collective fabric, to prevent any future negative activity. Assimilation is the process whereby..." Hmmm. Why didn't Blitzkrieg just assimilate the attacking computer the first time around?
LET'S SUMMARIZE WHAT the "patent-pending" Blitzkrieg server computer virus can do. I derived all of this from FutureVision's website and from orgasmic stories published in London's Sunday Times, New Scientist magazine, Hewlett-Packard, Information Security magazine, Defense News, Army Times, and the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association. The Blitzkrieg server computer virus:
  • defends networks by launching retaliatory strikes against a hacker's Internet provider and every hapless customer logged on at the same time;
  • cripples national defense agencies "by making it impossible to launch any missiles";
  • infects any computer system regardless of hardware platform, operating system, or security features;
  • physically destroys hardware components even if the computer is turned off at the time;
  • resolves Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and possibly gets around Gödel's incompleteness theorem;
  • "assimilates all other nodes attached to the network in a process that is intentionally transparent to the host computer irrespective of any antivirus preventive or protective mechanism" [translation: "you will be assimilated; resistance is futile"];
  • can completely spawn and/or heal itself "from a single UGEM 'machine instruction' ";
  • transmits itself between networks without detection: "as the wind is to a puff of smoke [sic], no trace of the virtual machine, its dynamic problem-solving state or its historical activities remain upon transfer from a network host unless ordered by the collective";
  • peers into the future with astounding clarity, predicting when attacks will occur and divining who will launch those attacks;
  • develops "theoretically perfect models of risk, understanding what can never be manipulated or known even with perfect information";
  • traces spam back to its original source and can "plant a virus" on the senders' computers [talk about a useful function!]
Mr. (not Dr.) Wood will earn a Nobel prize if his computer virus resolves Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. He'll earn a Fields medal if his computer virus gets around Gödel's incompleteness theorem. I ask again -- why does Mr. Wood prefer to deal with a naïve media instead of "the prying spotlight of the academic world"?
Larry Wood's use of the term "collective" equates to the Borg collective in Star Trek. (As mentioned earlier, borg.fvg.com resolves to IP address 206.215.145.26.) "Automacapcids" describe individual elements within the collective, similar to the term used in a recent X-Files episode. Blitzkrieg's ability to resolve Heisenberg's uncertainty principle guarantees Mr. (not Dr.) Wood a Nobel prize in physics, since it flies in the face of how we currently perceive the universe at the quantum level. If Blitzkrieg gets around Gödel's incompleteness theorem, it guarantees Mr. (not Dr.) Wood a Fields medal for shattering a fundamental element of mathematics. Why, then, does a shoo-in for such prestigious awards prefer to deal with a naïve media instead of "the prying spotlight of the academic world"? AFCEA's magazine editor — originally "sworn to secrecy" about some of the details — believes CIA or NSA "will probably make it black now," meaning they'll classify the entire Blitzkrieg project to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. An unnamed CIA agent (aren't they all?) called the Blitzkrieg server computer virus "potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons." And "the thing is [only] in a prototype form right now" according to AFCEA's editor. Wow. Imagine what the final product could do! Imagine, indeed. FutureVision claims their product makes all other computer security measures obsolete. "With our technology installed as your comprehensive critical infrastructure protection mechanism, you are guaranteed by the FutureVision Group, Inc. that your infrastructure will never be compromised. This guarantee will be backed by a unique international insurance policy." Speaking of possible compromise... I notice ns.fvg.com serves double-duty as www.fvg.com. This would qualify as a serious Internet vulnerability in anyone else's book, you know. (Ask a computer security expert or teenage hacker if you don't understand why.) FutureVision obviously puts a lot of faith in Blitzkrieg's defensive capabilities.
DID YOU KNOW FutureVision pays heavily armed ex-Marines to spread unstoppable computer viruses? The firm's website claims Blitzkrieg "is closely coupled and integrated with the FVG revolutionary Strategic Interdiction Unit (uniquely qualified and trained former members of the U.S. Marine Corps elite Deep Recon Platoons of Recon Battalion, and the Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team FAST). The result is the 'GUARDIAN': an unbeatable, tightly integrated, unique blend of technology and man, which completely removes the esoteric and pedantic debate from information warfare and comprehensive critical infrastructure protection."
Why did FutureVision compile a dossier on "the head of information security at a major government agency charged with infrastructure security"? Why did they take photos of a man who wrote a letter to AFCEA's editor criticizing Blitzkrieg?
To hear FutureVision say it, Blitzkrieg signals the end to information warfare research at the Air Force IW Battlelab and Navy Fleet IW Center. According to FutureVision's website, their Strategic Interdiction Unit "can conduct both overt and covert CI-VASEX operations to penetrate and deploy offensive and defensive configurations of the Lightning Server™ into existing computer & command and control systems." What's CI-VASEX, you ask? It's hard to explain... You'll understand more if you look at this snapshot from FutureVision's website. Please note the thin black bars used to conceal individuals' identities. (For the record: FutureVision let anyone view photos of heavily armed ex-Marines only if you used the 40-bit https encryption protocol. Go figure.) A source who attended Larry Wood's TechNet'98 appearance claims one member of the audience was "photographed by FVG information warfare counter-terrorists." Reason: he wrote a letter to AFCEA's editor criticizing Blitzkrieg coverage. Wood won't comment publicly about the incident — yet FutureVision admits they once compiled a dossier on "the head of information security at a major government agency charged with infrastructure security." Photo copr. 1998 Congressional Quarterly Speaking of TechNet'98... FutureVision dismantled most of their website after returning from the event. Coincidence? At one point you couldn't access anything without a password, but they did show a staged photo[3] of a FutureVision employee holding an über-hacker at gunpoint. Click on the image at right to see the photo in context. Right now you can't even get beyond FutureVision's default home page. Luckily, I took snapshots for posterity. Please note: webpages depicting heavily armed ex-Marines demanded the 40-bit https encryption protocol even though anyone could view those pages... (Go figure.) FutureVision and its "chief scientist" leave a number of unanswered questions:
  1. Does objective evidence exist to support Larry Wood's claims about the Blitzkrieg server computer virus?
  2. Does objective evidence exist to support Larry Wood's claims about his company?
  3. Did Larry Wood actually "simulate a computer attack [at TechNet'98] that disables a defense agency by making it impossible to launch any missiles"?
  4. Which "federal law enforcement organization" asked FutureVision to compile a dossier on a government employee?
  5. Why did FutureVision take photos of a man who wrote a letter to AFCEA's editor?
  6. Which "respected international physics journal" will publish Mr. (not Dr.) Wood's "UGEM theory" which shatters the way we perceive physics & mathematics and which ultimately gave birth to the Blitzkrieg server computer virus?
  7. Why didn't FutureVision's website mention their subsidiary "Deutsche Waffen[1] und Munistionsfabriken corporation"?
  8. Why did FutureVision's website talk about a Lightning War Server™ instead of a Blitzkrieg server?
  9. Why did FutureVision dismantle most of their website after returning from AFCEA TechNet'98?

FORGET ABOUT SCIENTISTS and ex-Marines for a moment. We need to talk about the real issue here. Suppose a 15yr-old claimed he created an unstoppable, undetectable computer virus which defies the laws of physics and mathematics. Suppose he claimed his virus could infect any computer regardless of hardware platform, operating system, or security features. Suppose he claimed his computer virus could physically destroy those computers at will. Suppose this kid sprinkled his claims with a bunch of two-dollar words like "ubiquitous" and "immeasurability" and "pedantic." Suppose he swiped phrases from Star Trek and The X-Files, then concocted hokey terms like "digital microbe thunder clouds." Suppose this kid said his teenage mutant ninja friends could break into any facility (for a fee) in order to infect physically isolated computers.
Suppose these statements came from the mouth of a 15yr-old. Would you take the kid seriously if he presented no objective evidence to support his claims?
Would you take this kid seriously if he presented no objective evidence to support his claims? Of course not. You would immediately write him off as an immature hacker-wannabee suffering from delusions of grandeur. Unfortunately, this same BS spews from the mouth of a self-described quantum physicist with a supposedly successful company. I don't know if Larry Wood suffers from delusions of grandeur, but I can tell you this — he got the attention of the military-industrial complex. AFCEA alone showered him with free publicity and invited him to speak at DoD's equivalent to COMDEX. You don't need to be delusional to milk the cash cow of information warfare, folks. If anything, Wood reminds me of John McAfee, who long ago proved people will worship a virus expert who prostitutes himself. Perhaps we've stumbled onto another guy with flexible ethics and a keen sense of marketing. I leave you now with a conceited quote:
"If you think this is a joke or science fiction ... then you are a fool." — Laurence F. Wood, Chief Technical Officer, FutureVision Group, Inc.