Feds Go Cow Tipping...

R. A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Thu Dec 13 19:48:31 EST 2001

--- begin forwarded text

Status:  U
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 02:33:54 -0600 (CST)
From: InfoSec News <isn at c4i.org>
To: <isn at attrition.org>
Subject: [ISN] Infamous hacker group helps the Feds
Sender: owner-isn at attrition.org
Reply-To: InfoSec News <isn at c4i.org>


By James Middleton

The controversy, rumours and speculation surrounding the FBI's Magic
Lantern tool has attracted ridicule from the internet underground.

Not only has one virus writer constructed a piece of malware under the
same name, but now infamous hacker group the Cult of the Dead Cow
(cDc) has offered a helping hand to the Feds.

Evidently still grizzled about the fact that its notorious Back
Orifice 2K remote control tool was labelled as a malicious program,
the cDc is offering its expertise in the area to help the FBI build
what would be an almost identical tool.

Reid Fleming, a cDc member, said: "Never before has the US faced a
more troublesome enemy. To meet this growing challenge, the FBI has
announced an ongoing effort to create and deploy best-of-breed
electronic surveillance software.

"While we applaud the innovation and drive of the federal law
enforcement agency, those of us who are US citizens would be remiss if
we did not offer our expertise in this area."

A tongue in cheek announcement from the group claims that cDc "has
more targeted experience than anyone else in this field".

And they're right. Back Orifice would do the Magic Lantern job
beautifully. Although the hackers are quite confident that the FBI's
Engineering Research Facility is more than capable, cDc intends to
re-architect Back Orifice from the ground up.

"There will be absolutely no shared code between the two projects, in
order to skirt detection by commercial antivirus packages. The code
will remain totally secret. The software will never surface publicly.
And it will be far more stealthy than anything we have ever released,
demonstrated or publicly discussed," the group said.

Indeed, the central design principle of Magic Lantern and this new
breed of Back Orifice could easily be interpreted as "an artificial
witness which is capable of intercepting any and all relevant activity
during, after and even leading up to the commission of a computer
crime", it added.

The cDc concluded that the project would deliver "the ultimate
intelligence gathering tool. And we intend to construct it, at no
cost, exclusively for the use of the federal government," said

"We are confident that the government will limit the use of this
technology only to targets relevant to legitimate investigations," he
added, further underscoring the cult's faith in federal law
enforcement organisations. "The FBI has a long history of following
Title 18 to the letter."

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--- end forwarded text

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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