At the intersection of Poweruser and Paranoia



  • Subversionhack: A surprisingly active blog and strange romp through the paranoid mind:

     "I used GRUB to boot my RedHat Linux systems (all of my Linux systems
    were RedHat and will be again). GRUB was my boot loader. The pcmcia
    hack put two files in /boot/grub/. One was named System.map"

     "The Config file would change from time to time, as features were
    added or discarded. Consequently this file represents a snapshot of a
    particular system at a particular time. I have others that vary. But
    the main features are the same. You will find references to this file
    in the development source archive. It's prescrotives show as error
    messages on my boot screens when a manage to use a CD to force a boot
    determined in part by a different loader. I understand 'y' and 'n'; I
    am not certain about the 'm' choice but I believe it means mandatory. I
    have excerpted here the part containing the network options; they are
    not the options I would have configured for myself as you can see. You
    can also see the PCMCIA-characteristic features and names in the
    settings excerpted here.
    The full file is here for download and examination.<config-RHEL-051010.txt, about 50k."

     -- from http://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/002239.html

     

    The whole psychoceramic jar is here:

    http://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/ 

     



  • It's bad form to follow up an own post, but this is gold: 

    "In brief, in this programmer's world, assembly and other code for any
    architecture may be applied to any machine of any other architecture
    for convenience and/or experiment. Architectures are perhaps well known
    but not respected. Therefore, the sections on Solaris, etc.
    may be relevant to any attacked machine. My Dell machines have booted
    (according to the boot screens) as SGI Irix on occasion."



  • A great deal is done with "spinlock" throughout. I gather from
    the programmer's comments that this means holding down or the
    rate of disk rotation (in some contexts it seems to mean CPU
    cycling) or temporarily halting it.

    WAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahaha... 



  • Oh god, not another one..  His photo gallery contains many, many photos of binary files open in vim.  Obviously, there is nothing useful visible but this guy has documented it as if there is some hidden meaning.  Please don't link to him anymore, we don't need him to check his referer logs and trace it back to this thread. 



  • @burntfuse said:

    This guy's never heard of locking data for threads...
    Apparently not a guy: http://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/003837.html

    Also, she posted her full name and address (on the right side of the main and archives pages).  Remind you of anyone?

    Some great stuff from the archives:

    The subversion hack will install iis and then the .NET framework. At the latest stage of development that I have seen (and screen-captured, I belive) you will see .NET assembly
    icons floating about in a non-linear amoebic kind or arrangement within
    your system direcotires, a most disconcerting sight. For my part that
    made me pull the plug once and for all.



  • Yeah, I was looking around more and realized it was a woman.

    Another WTF section:

    There is more arp programming and a special "i2c" char device.
    The NTFS allocation of clusters, and "preparation for larger
    device numbers (aspiring to a collection of other people's
    machines?) begins around line 2600. ("slave" networks and "cpus
    per hub are also discussed in other sections of the archive)
    access to vt screen buffer is programmed in vt_buffer.h, byteorder,
    endian "NUXI" for Linux, and other byte order aberrations follow
    these. soundmodem, a key application is a packet radio transceiver;
    it may exploit soundcards and even onboard sound chips. packet radio
    powers and carries the networking functions for this hack.
    It evidently can get into the machine even when the machine is not
    networked in any conventional way and has no wireless card. Infrared
    at the serial ports probably aids this but should not have the power
    of active intrusion unless carried by a more powerful wave. Packet
    (ham) radio also supports the GPS and coordinates system central to
    this hack.

     Um...device numbers are numbers given to the device "files" in Linux used to control each one from userspace, and having larger numbers is so you can fit more device nodes, not anything having to do with controlling slave machines in a botnet or something...  Also, if I remember correctly, I think the soundmodem driver is for using soft modems (Winmodems) which show up as audio devices under Linux.  You can't exploit machines externally through their soundcards - that's just complete bullshit.



  • @CodeSimian said:

    Apparently not a guy: http://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/003837.html

    OH GOD IT LOOKS LIKE ANN COULTER KILL IT WITH FIRE NUKE IT FROM ORB--    Aw, hell, who am I kidding?  fap fap fap

     

    @CodeSimian said:

    Also, she posted her full name and address (on the right side of the main and archives pages).  Remind you of anyone?

    Yes, which is why I asked people not to link.  We do not need 2 pantless psychos in the Sidebar, even if one is (allegedly) a chick. 



  • The subversion hack manifesto:

    statement of purpose for this series

    The hack on my network that I am describing is robbery perhaps closer to burglary (among other crimes) since a break-in to privately owned space to take or destroy privately owned equipment has occurred. It has the same financial and economic effects as burglary, although the law perhaps does not yet have a category for this kind of electronic breaking and entering .

    At present I have lost the use of seven (7) computers. 

    ...

    This is a very efficient method of economic attack upon an individual or a business since many (perhaps most) of us rely on computers for important parts of our work if not, like me, as the means of production itself.

    ... 

    how does it happen? -- review

    I suspect powerline networking is involved, or else some form of illegally amplified radio transmission (wireless networking for example operates by radio waves of various frequencies).

    My machines are passive recipients since they are not networked; are plugged into the wall, but note into a network jack and the intrusions continue, even when disks and entire machines are completely fresh. 

    ...

    Given the destructiveness of the code I think it is something that government and law enforcement should be concerned about, at least enough to look into it seriously and not shrug it off as the ignorant rambligs of an "end user" who does not know what she is talking about.

    ...

    I am publishing this series in part (but only in part) with the hope of attracting the attention of the appropriate local, state of national law enforcement authorities. That would be Chicago (local), Illinois (state), and of course the U.S. National cyber crime agencies. They are invited to contact me for all of the concrete evidence they want, including a hands-on look at seven machines.

    Other than that I am publishing this because I think that people should know that things like this happen and because it gives me the opportunity to communicate to an interested audience.

    And now I return to the topic: the code itself. The truth is in the code.

    Now we know what SpectateSwamp would be like, if he were a chick that grew up in the city, got an education, and failed to be exposed to brain-damaging levels of mercury.



  • More WTF:

    I could not tell you offhand whether a normal standard Windows (98, ME, XP) system has or does not have a directory named inf
    as a subdirectory of the Windows directory, but I believe that it does
    not (pardon my ignorance; it has been a few months since I have had a
    normal Windows machine to examine closely since the public machines I
    use understandably do not show the system directories to users). The
    subversion hack invariably creates a subdirectory named inf,
    which may be empty or have only a few files in it at first. It soon
    fills to 10 even 20 MB and with small text files with extensions .inf and .pnf 

    Oh no, my Vista installation has a inf folder in the Windows directory!  I must've been subversion-hacked!!!  Must start a blog on it...

    I shall visually illustrate what I am saying. If I examine one of
    the java archives with explorer, it unfolds into many subdirectories at
    the head of which is a directory named com . Under this is a directory ms
    (for Microsoft, one imagines), and then a long line of directories
    containing the functional java classes. Some of these directories are
    profuse and frightening. The classes look as though they are about to
    do what in fact they will -- namely replace all of the functions of the
    operating system. Here is the core class directory. Any one of the images below will give you a larger pop-up for a better look at the contents if you wish.

     

    core classes

    And here is part of the ax directory, javax -- graphical interface drawing functionality for the java language.

    javax

    Now let's explore another archive. Notice the same directory structure at the top level. Here is an io directory.

    java io classes

    And getting closer to the apparent motive, a net directory. The directories go on and on, as can be seen.

    java net classes

    You mean there are Java classes for creating GUIs?  And Java classes for networking, so your program can read web pages or something?  How suspicious.



  • @burntfuse said:

    Oh no, my Vista installation has a inf folder in the Windows directory!  I must've been subversion-hacked!!!  Must start a blog on it...
    From her blog, I see she has a spouse and friends.  As with SpectateSwamp, I wonder how they react to a loved one who publically broadcasts her mental illness over the Internet for the whole world to see.  Do they try to stop her?  Talk her out of it?  I wonder if they even care, or if they write it off as a harmless obsession, like collecting too many baseball cards or special edition DVDs of obscure foreign films. 



  •  Has SS taught her this way of screenshooting?



  • I think so.  That photo is not easy on the eyes at all. 

     

    Also, if you look at http://tagmeme.com/visuals/PE/index.html you'll see the result of a paranoid person who doesn't know shit about Linux trying to figure out what's going on under the hood.  There's some ridiculous sentence about /dev/zero and /dev/null being used for memory transfers between machines.  No, I'm not making that up. 



  • I was going to post more idiocy and explain why it's obviously wrong (including some stuff about how this "virus" sets up your computer to transmit and receive ham radio), but I realized that I could keep going for weeks with all the material in the archive.

    The thing is, I wouldn't be surprised at all if there was a virus which attached to system processes and replaced the GUI and ended up replacing a lot of the original OS (a really interesting idea actually), especially on Windows XP where every home user runs as an admin, but this person is looking in all the wrong places, and as I said before, doesn't know shit about what she's seeing and assumes it's all virus activity when it's really just normal.  Also, I seriously doubt it could get installed on something like Linux or Windows Vista which actually have proper access controls (not that XP doesn't have restricted accounts, just that most people don't use them) unless they explicitly give it permissions as an installer or something else stupid.



  • Sorry for the triple post, but I couldn't resist posting this.  See http://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/002157.html.  I know this file very well - it's the fortune (a program to display random quotes) file with Linux quotes.  I can't believe that she thinks even this is suspicious... 



  • Um, what's a prescrotive?

    Actually, I don't care, I'm going to say it in my next meeting anyway. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    We do not need 2 pantless psychos in the Sidebar, even if one is (allegedly) a chick.
     

    Psycho chicks are the best !

     

    he says, rubbing the old knife scar in centre of chest




  • @Quinnum said:

    Psycho chicks are the best !

     

    he says, rubbing the old knife scar in centre of chest

    Yeah, until they decide to cut off your dick.  Then it's all "should I tell the Police it was her fault and lose the great sex or tell them it was a cooking accident?"  I mean, the choice is clear, but the first couple of times after you get the stiches out hurt.  Especially if she is the type who likes to ride rough.



  • As with SSDS, I can't help wondering if this is some sort of elaborate, long-term prank (which would be insane in itself):

    http://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/002209 

    @CrazyComputerLady said:

    By Part 7, if not before, the code begins to get really exciting. You can see exactly how much of the machine is being re-written with assembly. Why
    you ask, do they have to rebuild the keyboard driver and other mundane
    parts? Why so they insist on certain "niceties" such as the onscreen
    keyboard. The team is doing so many things with this project you begin
    to wonder what it is they are really doing. It is not clear
    how well their code works for what it is supposed to do (not too well,
    one hopes). What is clear is that it ruins your machines for your own
    production use (or even entertainment and email, for that matter). If
    you read the entire archive carefully you will realize that what has
    happened by the time they finish is that your OS has been replaced with
    the OS of a router hub, with a flimsy GUI tacked on top. The power -
    CPU and memory - is going somewhere else. If you have a hard drive,
    these people will dump their codes, including their libraries and
    compilers, on it.
     



  • @CodeSimian said:

    @CrazyComputerLady said:

    If
    you read the entire archive carefully you will realize that what has
    happened by the time they finish is that your OS has been replaced with
    the OS of a router hub, with a flimsy GUI tacked on top. The power -
    CPU and memory - is going somewhere else. If you have a hard drive,
    these people will dump their codes, including their libraries and
    compilers, on it.
     

     

    I think I'm beginning to understand what's going on here. "These
    people" are actually the computers themselves, and they're slowly re-writing their own operating systems
    in order to create a Skynet-like construct which will "end" the world
    as we know it in 2012. This blog must have been what brought
    SpectateSwamp's attention to the matter (or he may have even discovered
    this independently) and caused him to formulate his daring plan to
    combat the machines with his dancing! The inefficient code in SSDS is
    merely a delaying tactic.

     It's starting to make more and more sense!



  • It's amazing how she just pulls all this stuff out of her ass.  There's nothing in that code which vaguely suggests it's "rewriting the machine on the lowest level".  There was another post where she said there was code for setting up a secure VPN to control the system, and so of course I looked at the source, but there was nothing that even dealt with VPNs - all just normal Linux driver code that I recognized and understood.  Seriously, how do you get to the conclusion that just because there's ham radio drivers in there (a normal part of the Linux source) that it somehow modifies the hardware of your computer to receive ham radio? (since there's no other way it could receive it)  Or that because there are Java IO and networking classes that they're meant to take over your system...  Or because there's a soundmodem driver that computers can be exploited through the sound card?  Or that DirectX install logs with names of internal functions she doesn't recognize mean that there's a virus taking over DirectX?  Or that using high-powered microwaves on electronics would somehow allow you to insert subtle viruses instead of just frying them the way EMPs are known to do?  Or that sensor code for reading processor voltages and temperatures is somehow able to control the voltage and is meant to shock people who open the computer? (Yes, she really does imply that at one point) Or...  Seriously, it just bothers me that someone can know enough to speak coherently, install/use a variety Linux distros, and seem like a normal person in other ways (unlike Mr. Swamp), but still actually be this incredibly stupid.


    I think maybe the real story is that she got a normal virus on a Windows machine, maybe took an infected file over to another computer not on a network or just thought she saw symptoms on other computers everywhere, then stumbled on the kernel source sitting on one of her Linux boxes and took that to be the virus code.



  • Hate that edit timeout.

    Correction: I didn't mean that EMPs and microwaves are the same thing, just have similar effects.

    More WTF for your personal enjoyment: She thinks it's likely that the computers were infected by powerline networking, the only reason being that it's possible to transmit signals over power lines, even though her computers don't have the hardware for it.  How does she think it works, that it's secretly built into every power supply but no one knows about it or something? 



  • @burntfuse said:

    Seriously, it just bothers me that someone can know enough to speak coherently, install/use a variety Linux distros, and seem like a normal person in other ways (unlike Mr. Swamp), but still actually be this incredibly stupid.
    Because it's likely not stupidity, it's insanity.  Just like Mr. Swamp, she will likely ignore any information which does not reinforce her paranoid worldview.  In her blog, she repeatedly writes that she knows this stuff would sound crazy to outsiders, like the cops and the FBI, but SHE HAS THE PROOF, so she is sure it isn't crazy.

    If she weren't insane, she could just ask a couple of Linux developers or Windows experts to debunk her claims.  Look what happens when they try to do so:

    http://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/cat_hackvisuals

    Everything is normal and you don't know much about either OS

    I summarize the major points of these communications as in the header above: "Everything you are showing us is normal" and "You don't know very much about either operating system". Both have a grain of truth (barring the "everything" which is ridiculous insofar as I said outright that three brand new out-of-the-box PCs were penetrated before I ever networked them to anything). Often if the correspondence referred to anything specific at all it was a screen capture or photo. It was hard to tell whether the person had read the captions with the photo-illustrations or not, much less the broader context in which it was presented.

    It is true that many of the things seen in the photos and some mentioned in the text are normal under some circumstances under some OS variants. Let me give a simple example of contextual "circumstances". If I say that the mail client Eudora was found on one of my machines, someone can tell me that its completely normal. Of course it is, providing that I installed it or know that it was installed by another reliable source. If I do not use Eudora, if I did not install it, and if there was no way that anyone else I know might have installed it, then it is not normal. It is "unfamiliar" software because I do not know how it got onto my system.

    I should explain that I run single user machines with only a root or administrator account and one user account. So, the fact of unexplained software being there at all points to the possibility of a more pervasive underlying problem (such as a rootkit). If, at the same time, the "normal" appears to be running on it own and doing other peculiar and objectionable things with my OS (for example logging onto the network without my help) then there is evidence that not only is its existence on the machine strange, but that there are probably other things going on as well that should be looked into. The NX software featured in what I called one of the most bizarre photos in my collection turned out to be a marketed cross-platform serve-client software. You can see it at nomachine.com. That does not change the fact that it should not have been on the machine in the photo. I do not own the software; the machine was never networked by modem or ethernet; the machine has no wireless card, etc. For those reasons the software was rather problematic though it would not be under different circumstances.

    ... 

    That is unfortunately the kind of social response that makes people afraid to report unexplained events and makes the responsible law enforcement agencies reluctant to take unusual reports seriously -- at least seriously enough to ask a few more questions (ironically at the same time that we all find signs in our busses and trains and airports telling us to report any suspicious activities we might see).

    ...

    If I turn out to be wrong about the involvement of radio as the major vector of intrusion (although I doubt that this is incorrect at this point), I will also let my readers know that. The evidence is quite good, while there is no evidence for any other explanation that would account for the facts. I was fortunate (I guess you can to call it that) in dealing with this intrusion, to have had it involve seven machines of my own and one other. Two of my machines were running dual boot Linux and Windows XP; my other machines were either Windows or Linux dedicated. I tested quite a few hypotheses in studying them, with a little guidance from suggestions made by computer security professionals I had corresponded with. This has been my major occupation now for slightly over six months. I am trained in systematic research, isolating conditions, the rules of evidence and inference, things I have been working at longer than I have been working at computing. Now and then I make mistakes in what I infer about something I have seen on my machines. I usually try to report them soon after I discover them.

    This intrusion is a complicated installation; it replaces mimics an entire OS. It is not stupidly cobbled together and it does not neglect to camouflage itself and make it difficult to see what is going on. I am doing my best to expose what is "odd" and can be spotted. My judgement has been that it is generally more effective to do this by showing code, configurations, log files, and other parts of the installation's "productions" since some readers will be able to understand more from these than I am able to do. I trust readers who are more knowledgeable in a particular area to make the cognitive correction for themselves and take from the site what is of benefit to them.

    You see, she is a security expert, in the same way Spectate is a top alien hunter.   

     



  • This is fascinating for some reason. Has anyone figured out what actually caused her to think she had a virus? Half the picture links are broken, but she mentions that it replaced Windows with a "shoddy-looking" GUI and that it did some weird partitioning (and created a RAID array?!) on her hard drive. Other than that, she just seems freaked out that a program would create files or change things in the registry.



    Actually, now that I think about it, it reminds me of the rare mental disorder where the victim is convinced that a loved one has been replaced with an imposter.



  • @Cap'n Steve said:



    Actually, now that I think about it, it reminds me of the rare mental disorder where the victim is convinced that a loved one has been replaced with an imposter.
    Been reading about Tony Rosato, by any chance?

     



  • @burntfuse said:

    ...seem like a normal person in other ways (unlike Mr. Swamp), but still actually be this incredibly stupid.
     

    Look at what happens when she gets new information which contradicts her paranoid worldview:

    http://tagmeme.com/exmachina/a/002596.html

    Errata without disqualification

    2007-10-15

    Before I publish my next series of new entries I want to call attention to some of my mistakes or rather call attention to the fact that I am aware of them and do learn as I go. I have named quite a few files in Windows and Linux as anomalies when files by those names are expected, at least under some conditions. I predicted that I would make that kind of mistake and I did. I was rarely, if ever wrong, however in saying that the files I noticed were abnormal. They have the expected names but when one looks inside they are doing unexpected things on the system.

    Most of us, even the most experienced users, do not memorize the names of all the files in the two or more OSes that we use. The exception would be those users whose main job it is to know those things and administer the systems. It is not surprising that one might first notice a file when it begins to cause trouble. If one did not see the file before and if it is not in a ready-to-hand reference, one might think it is not part of the standard OS (or other software). At the same time a successful intrusion with the breadth of what I have seen, would want to conceal itself as much as possible by looking like expected OS, and other common applications. The subversion hack is very good at generating confusion about what is and what is not authentic Microsoft or Linux, and the same with respect to the distributed applications for either platform. I will be talking about Captive and NX next. These are both known open source software names. I am not saying or implying that these programs have been built as attack code: only that someone has altered them for that purpose. The subversion hack authors have also disassembled and altered Microsoft OS components as well as Linux modules. They counterfeit the names of manufacturers and trust certificate authorities.

    You can never prove her theory wrong.  As soon as you come up with contrary evidence, she'll simply adjust it to fit the new information.  I really don't think this is stupidity at all.



  • You're right - at first I thought she was just terminally stupid, and thought she knew more than she did, leading to conclusions that are way off (I've definitely heard of and run into people like that), but this is mental-illness-level stuff.  "Here's a strange file, its existence is my evidence that there's a virus! Oh wait, you say that's a normal file to have? Well, it's being modified by the virus."

     

    For some reason I really want to see all those photos now, like the supposedly "shoddy replacement GUI".  Seems like any time there's a possibility of something interesting, it leads to a broken link.



  • @burntfuse said:

    You're right - at first I thought she was just terminally stupid, and thought she knew more than she did, leading to conclusions that are way off (I've definitely heard of and run into people like that), but this is mental-illness-level stuff.  "Here's a strange file, its existence is my evidence that there's a virus! Oh wait, you say that's a normal file to have? Well, it's being modified by the virus."
    For what it's worth, she claims to have a doctorate and also to have been an assistant professor (what, no tenure?):

    http://tagmeme.com/orissa/authors.html 

    http://tagmeme.com/orissa/about.html 

    TRWTF is she was an assistant professor of psychology.  I'm guessing she did not specialize in clinical or abnormal psychology....



  • @CodeSimian said:

    TRWTF is she was an assistant professor of psychology.  I'm guessing she did not specialize in clinical or abnormal psychology....
     

    She also claims to have obtained "a Masters Degree from the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee in 1999". Now that's disturbing.



  • @TGV said:

    She also claims to have obtained "a Masters Degree from the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee in 1999". Now that's disturbing.
    Yeah, but her program of study was Library and Information Science, so I'm guessing she was more of a librarian than a computer scientist.



  • WOW . . . . . . Just . . . . . . . . .WOW

     

    The blog entries are so bizaare I can't stop reading them.  And that poor husband.  I would love to talk to him.  What kind of hell must he be living in?  This really seems to be an incredible combination of stupidity (she truly has no clue how computers and operating systems work) and insanity -- each one fueling the other.



  • Is it sad that she's been doing that since 2005? (as documented on http://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/index.html - and yes - I want her to spot tdwtf in referers list - she's much more fun than swamp guy)

    Or is it just one of great ways of natural selection - making sure she's so busy, that she won't think about getting kids?



  • @CodeSimian said:

    Been reading about Tony Rosato, by any chance?

    No, I was actually thinking of a story I heard about a man who got in a car wreck and insisted that his wife had been killed in it.

    I think my favorite part so far is when she deduces that the author must be from Chicago because he uses the word "userland".



  • This is classic schizophrenia behavior.  Extreme paranoia combined with an intricately woven story about conspiracy and unknown people invading her computer through impossible means.  She is latching on to things she doesn't understand and combining what she thinks she sees into something that justifies her vision.  This woman has serious psychological problems.



  • It may be interesting to note, that she is also paranoid about black helicopters. Her scrapbook is a trip into a weird mind.
    She seems very normal when talking about her husband who likes to read, etc. , and then all of a sudden, starts talking about suspicious trucks and helis.

    I bet Sepctate would find several aliens in the photo of the tree!



    Doug Pederson vs Nacy Ross. A match made in heaven.


    P.S. since i dint post for months, i must say it: the RWTF is still the forum software damnit!



  • @joe_bruin said:

    This woman has serious psychological problems.

     

    Nitpicking: No, she has serious psychiatric problems. 



  •  Psychotic, even.



  •  I wonder if it would be worth taking the trouble to explain away all her major problems one by one in an e-mail, or if she'd just dismiss it, or go completely foaming-at-the-mouth insane.  Then again, that last option would be fun to see...  The only thing I'd be worried about with this going un-debunked is people who don't know enough to dimiss this as total lunacy stumbling on her blog and thinking that there's some kind of hidden internet war going on, since if you don't know anything about it, her random technical speculations might look convincing.



  • @burntfuse said:

     I wonder if it would be worth taking the trouble to explain away all her major problems one by one in an e-mail, or if she'd just dismiss it, or go completely foaming-at-the-mouth insane. 
    People already tried that (see above).@burntfuse said:
    Then again, that last option would be fun to see... 
    Actually, I feel sorry for her.  And she doesn't go out of her way to annoy strangers on the Internet, like some people.  (Although Swampy's trollishness may also be a symptom of mental illness.)  She may be insane, but she doesn't seem to be a jerk. 

     @burntfuse said:

    The only thing I'd be worried about with this going un-debunked is people who don't know enough to dimiss this as total lunacy stumbling on her blog and thinking that there's some kind of hidden internet war going on, since if you don't know anything about it, her random technical speculations might look convincing.
    Well, that has seemingly already happened:

    http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=1209606#post1209606

     



  • @CodeSimian said:

    @burntfuse said:
    I wonder if it would be worth taking the trouble to explain away all her major problems one by one in an e-mail, or if she'd just dismiss it, or go completely foaming-at-the-mouth insane.
    People already tried that (see above).

    You missed the awesome car analogy, though:

    I am trying to come with a good analogy, so you can see my point of view. Let's say that I said to you, "Aliens have infiltrated my car. Even though I do not smoke and never have, there is something called a 'cigarette lighter' installed in my dashboard, and I traced the wiring clear back to the engine. I think they are trying to pump engine fumes into the passenger compartment. Wouldn't you think I was either pulling your leg, or a bit off my rocker? Wouldn't you try to assure me that a cigarette lighter is perfectly normal, causes no danger if not used, and is installed in every car? That's exactly how I feel when I read your web site.

    If you TRULY BELIEVE the things that you say on that web site, then I TRULY BELIEVE you need counseling. I do not claim to be qualified to offer a medical diagnosis, but the conclusions you have written and the effort you have expended represents what I understand to be the symptoms of paranoia. [If so, I believe the word he needed above was "psychiatric treatment" rather than "counseling" ]



  • @Cap'n Steve said:

    You missed the awesome car analogy, though
    Well, I read that, but I decided not to repeat it in this thread.  Here's her response to the car analogy (which was a programmer's criticism, by the way):

    The programmers argument also happens to slip into the illogical itself
    by focusing on the wrong questions. To my mind the programmer's example
    of a "paranoic" scenario invites another illustration of the importance
    of knowing some the context before one makes a judgment. I shall
    explain what I mean. My response to his hypothetical problem would be
    to ask a few questions. "Was the cigarette lighter in your car when you
    bought it? No? Are you sure it was not? Yes?" [We can probably verify
    that with the merchant if the car is not too old]. Then, "Is it
    possible that your mechanic might have installed it by mistake when he
    was servicing your car; for example might he have made a mistake and
    thought you ordered it?; or could he have gotten someone else's order
    confused with yours?" [He calls the mechanic. No.] "Does your spouse
    [do your children] use the car? Does your spouse use a different
    mechanic? Could your spouse or your children have had it installed or
    installed it themselves" [No] "All right. I do not think we need to
    talk about space aliens. So far we have not mentioned anything people
    can not do. But let's pursue the question of the cigarette lighter a
    bit more. When did you say you first noticed the lighter? Do you think
    its appearance was associated with any malfunctions or changes in the
    performance your car? You say you have a feeling that fumes from the
    engine are entering the driving compartment?; the ventilations seems
    worse and your exhaust system isn't working as well? Have you had all
    of that checked out by a capable diagnostic mechanic since you found
    the lighter? [No.] "By the way, do you happen to know of anybody who
    might have a motive to harm you, who has mechanical skill, and who
    could conceivably have gotten access to your car, e.g. when you park it
    on the street overnight?" (I am reminded of the Simpsons episode in
    which part of the multi-threaded plot involves Homer's secretly
    vengeful auto mechanic, the son of a thwarted co-worker). "You're not
    sure? You think maybe so? " [Maybe] "Well, if I were you I would forget
    the space aliens. People usually do these things. Some of them might
    know a little technology that you don't know yet. I think you might
    want to have that lighter checked out and the rest of the car too.

    See, there is no argument you can make to convince her she is wrong. 



  • @burntfuse said:

    I think maybe the real story is that she got a normal virus on a Windows machine, maybe took an infected file over to another computer not on a network or just thought she saw symptoms on other computers everywhere, then stumbled on the kernel source sitting on one of her Linux boxes and took that to be the virus code.
    In her own words:

    http://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/cat_hackvisuals

    But first and foremost -- I noticed all of this because I started
    seeing things that I had never seen before and at the same time my
    (four) machines stopped working properly. They became very very lame. I
    thought it was ordinary stuff at first - trojans, Web parasites but
    when I got down to changing hard disks, and clearing the cmos and
    reloading operating systems and it still came back -- that's
    unexplained, at least to me. Then I bought three new machines. If you
    have a security problem you don't put them on the network until you
    have them secured, right? You should be able to count on that. Well, don't count on it. I tested the idea that it could be the OS media. It's not.



  • @CodeSimian said:

    People already tried that (see above).

    Right, but I meant a detailed point-by-point explanation of each major thing she's posted (screenshots, directory listings, etc. - not necessarily every single little detail).  Maybe her paranoia isn't bad enough that something which logically explains away every piece of evidence (with details - "this is Linux driver code I recognize from every single distribution with none of the secret hidden VPN stuff you mention" instead of "you don't know anything") might convince her - then again, I haven't read through the entire archive, so maybe someone's already tried that.

    @CodeSimian said:

    Actually, I feel sorry for her.  And she doesn't go out of her way to annoy strangers on the Internet, like some people.  (Although Swampy's trollishness may also be a symptom of mental illness.)  She may be insane, but she doesn't seem to be a jerk.

    I wasn't actually being serious... But yes, I agree, she seems like a much better person than SpectateSwamp, someone you'd hope recovers eventually, instead of standing back and laughing at them because they're so annoying that no one feels sorry for them.



  • @burntfuse said:

    Right, but I meant a detailed point-by-point explanation of each major thing she's posted (screenshots, directory listings, etc. - not necessarily every single little detail).
    You mean like this? [img]http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/venting.png[/img]



  •  Exactly.  Actually, now that I found the page with that car analogy, it looks like the guy tried to do exactly that.  Her response gets even stranger - she says that there are different types of computer knowledge, implying that she knows more about some things than a professional programmer (sure...) and when he apparently told her that her computer couldn't receive ham radio signals without any kind of radio hardware, she just flat-out tells him he's wrong, and "not aware of the latest developments."  Um...thanks for proving your point logically with plenty of reliable sources to back it up...



  • @burntfuse said:

     Exactly.  Actually, now that I found the page with that car analogy, it looks like the guy tried to do exactly that.  Her response gets even stranger - she says that there are different types of computer knowledge, implying that she knows more about some things than a professional programmer (sure...) and when he apparently told her that her computer couldn't receive ham radio signals without any kind of radio hardware, she just flat-out tells him he's wrong, and "not aware of the latest developments."  Um...thanks for proving your point logically with plenty of reliable sources to back it up...
     

    If you only read a couple of her blog entries, you think she's just really clueless about how computers work.  But after a while the sheer insanity becomes obvious.  Her standard response to everything is "what you're saying might be right under other circumstances, but this is different -- there's stuff going on here that you don't understand".

    I wonder if they could work this into an episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

     

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    And that poor husband.  I would love to talk to him.  What kind of hell must he be living in? 
    Apparently her husband is drinking the Kool-Aid now:

    http://tagmeme.com/exmachina/a/004257.html#more 

     

    The Dell Precision Workstation 360 shown in these photos was purchased from
    Dell's online outlet in early 2007, with the purpose of testing whether anyone other
    than myself would notice anything peculiar about his machine after setting it up
    in this house. This machine was bought for and used by my spouse. He
    understood the conditions.

    He had not run a machine in our house since ours were hacked to uselessness
    in July of 2005. He had seen three new machines of mine that had never been
    networked destroyed for use by this seemingly miraculous hack. But to some
    extent he had had to take my word for some things
    , since he did not have time or
    inclination to inspect my machines closely or use them as the intrusions were happening. Besides
    that he is familiar with Windows only, whereas two out of three of my newest machines
    were Linux. I had just been through negotiations of sorts with an engineering
    firm that wanted to charge me $2500 (plus a "virgin" machine) to use a shielded room,
    send me home and prove I was mistaken about some strange wireless intrusion upon
    my machines (it must have been my media). They did not give me a quote to come
    out and have a hands-on look at what I was talking about. I was not willing
    to bet that much money against myself at that point. I decided it would be
    worthwhile to see if someone else had the same experience as I if a "virgin" machine
    was powered up in this house. I decided I would neither touch nor examine the
    new machine after setting it up. It would be set up in the presence of an independent
    third party witness. If the machine was affected, my spouse at least would
    be a witness to the events as I had experienced them. If his machine was unaffected,
    then fine, he could use it. If it was affected then I was not the only person
    who sees something wrong on these machines.

    Knowing that this was a testing machine we took every precaution to maintain
    suitable isolation conditions (i.e. isolation from our other machines and their media
    or peripherals). The machine came factory loaded with Windows XP Pro SP2 from
    Dell. It was a refurbished Precision 360 Workstation. It shared no media
    with any other machines. It used no software that had been downloaded from
    the Internet. It used only Microsoft and McAfee Pro (boxed commercial)
    software. We had no broadband access in the house at this time. We had
    no modem connections. The Precision 360 does not have wireless networking capabilities
    (at least not normal ones).

     

    I set up the machine for Robert in the presence of the trustworthy
    third party
    witness. I loaded a 2GB memory module purchased from Dell. I powered up
    the machine. Then I loaded Microsoft Office 1997, and boxed commercial
    McAfee antivirus while our witness was there.
    Nothing else was installed later. The witness was knowledgable
    regarding desktop
    setup and use. The machine appeared to be in satisfactory order and
    working
    normally when setup was finished. From that time on I never touched the
    machine,
    neither when Robert was present, nor when he was not. Even to the day I
    took
    the photographs in this series I had not laid hands on that machine.
    Even
    to the day of this writing I have not. No one else had access to this
    machine other
    than Robert.

    Robert used the machine rather lightly and sporadically for a few months. He
    used it for writing letters and other documents. During that time he made one
    service call to Dell when his floppy drive suddenly stopped functioning. The
    problem was resolved by Dell Support's telephone advice. He said nothing else
    about it until the time these photographs were taken. The photos in this series
    were taken on July 5th of 2007. By that time I had another platform that had been
    working for me for a little more than a month but had no connections to the Internet
    or any other networks. On July 5th, Robert powered on his Dell Precision
    360 and and called me. He said, "Nancy, what [...] is all this [stuff]?" I
    came and looked at the machine's interface over Bob's shoulder. I asked him
    to show me what he saw that looked odd to him. We started to unfold the directories
    with Bob clicking though them. I asked him to bear with me and
    wait while I brought the camera and then we would click through the folder hierarchy. As
    we went on, Robert remarked at one point "This is very depressing." It
    was a nice new machine, as three of mine had been. I knew how he felt.

     



  • @burntfuse said:

    @CodeSimian said:

    People already tried that (see above).

    Right, but I meant a detailed point-by-point explanation of each major thing she's posted (screenshots, directory listings, etc. - not necessarily every single little detail).

    No point. Logic doesn't work with someone who's suffering from clinical paranoia.



  • @Carnildo said:

    No point. Logic doesn't work with someone who's suffering from clinical paranoia.

     

     

    Yeah, honestly, I don't know much about paranoia as a mental illness - I thought maybe it was something where if you could really solidly prove every single part of the paranoid theory wrong, the person might partly break out of it (as DrPhil said about SpectateSwamp's problems), but I guess not. 



  • This whole thing has to be some kind of joke... someone writing a weblog in their spare time to screw with people on the Internet.  Seriously.  The scrapbook is normal until the end; it's like she took a course on storytelling or something... what, with the foreshadowing in the earlier entries.

    And she knows a bit about computers, too... I don't understand how someone with her credentials and knowledge could come to the conclusion she has.  That's also why I think this is a farce of some kind.

    Perhaps we should encourage her to build a Faraday cage?  It's really quite simple; just build a frame and wrap it with copper mesh... go inside, and you literally have zero radio waves of any kind.  No cell phone signal, no wireless signal, nothing.

    She should open a brand new computer in there, format its drive, install Windows, and look through all the files.  I bet she'll see this "suspicious" activity then, too, and she can rule out radio waves.  So maybe she'll come to the conclusion that she's f'ing wrong...



  •  What a moron.  A two-second internet search tells you the purpose of both the i386 folder (Windows installation files) and the folders beneath it.  But then, she's taken all of her machines off the network so maybe that's why she can't use Google.  A supposed "expert" should know about packed files (she thought DEFAULT.CA_ was a "certificate authority") and generic terms like GDI ("GDI is a graphics rendering engine developed, I believe, for UNIX but now used on Microsoft platforms as well.")  When she finds system files in i386, she assumes Microsoft moved them and doesn't bother running a search to discover that the files are present where they should be and that maybe these are copies. 

     Hmm... I wonder if there are any passwords on the note stuck to the monitor.  That's about the intelligence I'd expect from her.


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