by Terence Boef
The last time a Filipino was in the news like this, it was that idiot who killed Versace. Now a hacker calling himself (face it, most hackers are boys) spyder, a member of a group called GRAMMERSoft, has made his mark on prime time crime.
Spyder's achievement? The creation of a Trojan that imbeds itself into your PC, trashes files, grabs control of your browser and address book, emails itself to others, and tries to filch your passwords.
All of this takes place when you click on an e-mail attachment that reads I LOVE YOU. The Trojan then springs into action, instantly replacing all the visual basic files on your drive with copies of itself. The Trojan writes itself to three places in Windows so as to propagate when you restart. It trashes JPEG graphics, conceals all MP3 and MP2 files and redirects your browser to call an executable file on any of four Skyinternet accounts. All while displaying "I LOVE YOU" on the infected PC's screen.
It's a love bug, but it ain't Herbie. And it's inspired other hackers to try the same stunt. There are variants called "funny", "really funny" and "mother's day" that do the same job on your PC.
The reason I'm writing this is to point out a few social factors about this virus. One, I read the source code for it on my Mac, which of course is unaffected. Right there on the first line, Spyder tells the world that the program was written in Manila, Philippines. How embarrassing.
Two, most system administrators I know caught it within minutes of first transmission. There's plenty of software that sniffs for too many identical emails or surges in mailer usage. The joke is, this one went undetected by Sky Internet for several hours, if not days. Pathetic.
The likely explanation is that the system administrators in that company are either so overworked that they haven't installed proper monitoring systems, or worse, they're underqualified. I know about Pinoy ISPs and they pay everyone shit,when any decent sysad can get a job someplace else in the world with a fat enough salary to buy a nice BMW your first year (If that is your priority. Me, I'm buying while the Nasdaq is low ).
So Sky Internet now has a very black eye and henceforth will be posted on international ISP and hub watch lists. They ARE guilty of some pretty substantial neglect. Negligence is no defense in tort law.
Point number three, there are hackers in the Philippines. Surprise surprise. Chatters in Manila will tell you about attacks using Back Orifice (a very elegant and tiny Trojan horse that basically allows someone to take over your computer). This is an easily available script. From anecdotal notes, we also know that there has been a malicious hacker with tiny dick syndrome who's been using Sky Internet for a couple of years.
Finally, I think it's a very bad indicator of the country's state that this can happen so easily. Get your ass out of bed and vote for someone with a brain! Get mad, I mean really mad. The sick man of Asia must get up or will die, covered with bedsores. A maggot has been discovered already.
I hope spyder gets caught and for once I wouldn't mind some Marcos style "justice." Like many people, I happen to make a living off my computer. Anyone I catch messing with it is in the same category as the guy who's caught rustling cattle from a ranch. Spyder, anytime you want me to demonstrate some aikido moves on you, just let me know. Even if I have to fall in line. There are many of us who feel this way.
Terence Boef is the alias of a computer programmer who's been hit by Filipino hackers before