02 December 2007

Hackers hijack, nerds protect and a new programming language

Stumbled upon (or, rather, stumbledupon) today on an interesting piece by BBC's Mark Ward, technology correspondent.

A huge campaign to poison web searches and trick people into visiting malicious websites has been thwarted. The booby-trapped websites came up in search results for search terms such as "Christmas gifts" and "hospice".
The story is interesting by itself, but there was a hilarious statement or two made by Alex Eckelberry, head of Sunbelt Software - one of the firms that uncovered the attack. My interest to he quotes below is of purely professional nature, of course, me being somewhat connected to the burgeoning software world and trying to stay current.
"If your machine was not fully patched you were going to get hosed," said Mr Eckelberry.
Sunbelt had discovered malicious sites connected with search terms such as "hospice", "cotton gin and its effect on slavery", "infinity" and many more.

"You could be searching for really innocuous things and get nailed," said Mr Eckelberry. "There was really nasty stuff in there."

"If there's any message from this I can scream from the rooftops its make sure you patch your machine," he said.
I am not sure there is any need to go to such extremes as screaming from the rooftops, but some terms (or, maybe, the new language commands) in this interview are interesting.

I am quite familiar with "patched", but "hosed" and "nailed" must be something totally new, and Mr Eckelberry could have involuntary disclosing elements of some hitherto secret programming language here.

BBC might want to take notice...