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Hackers To Shut Down City

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Today’s Metro asks our fair citizens about the new crime cameras proposed for sites of Philadelphia, and it appears a “connoisseur” from Center City is worried about gangs of hackers — a convenient excuse for every computer-related failure — ruining our city’s new crime camera plan. Well, at least the friendly dealers at 13th and Locust can rest easy.

July 25: Loch Ness Monster Shuts Down Crime Cameras

Loch Ness Monster Shuts Down Crime Cameras

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A 23-year-old man was shot and killed outside a Chinese restaurant over the weekend. Fortunately, there were cameras outside the restaurant, and the killer will hopefully soon be identified.

Ha ha, just kidding! (Not about the homicide, but about the cameras.) In yet another example of the incompetence of Big Brother, the cameras outside the Chinese restaurant were not working. (If Nineteen Eighty-Four were real, Winston’s time in Room 101 would have been spent playing with puppies.) Back in March, the cameras — installed by the Philadelphia Commercial Development Corporation — also didn’t work, so they’ve really made a lot of progress on the issue. (Hey, another parenthetical aside: Perhaps one of the problems was that ex-PCDC president and soon-to-be-City Councilman Curtis Jones said he had a master’s degree when in fact he had a certificate of compliance from a weekend seminar of some sort.)

Anyway, the PCDC does have an excuse for the non-working cameras.

The Philadelphia Commercial Development Corporation which runs the cameras, says hackers and a lightening strike were the reasons the cameras were off. The president of the PCDC says the cameras should be working again by Friday, and he wants the D-A and the US attorney to investigate the hackers.

Hackers and a lighting strike? Usually when you comes up with ideas for a ridiculous excuse to save face, you only choose one one those ideas.

But who knows. Perhaps there really were hackers. I don’t know what they were like, but I can only assume they are like Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller’s characters from the 1996 film Hackers, not nerdy script kiddies in their parents’ basement. This makes for a sexier story.

Anyway, next time this blog happens to be down, it’s the fault of Bigfoot and solar flares.

Crime Cameras Stall in Wynnefield
March 26: Get Ready For More Of This In The Coming Weeks

Finally, An Easier Way To Bug Mayor Street

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It was just a few weeks ago when our very own mayor, John Street, got in line for an iPhone at 3 in the morning (at right). “Go back to work!” the critics jeered. “Stop the murders!” But John Street is the lame duck mayor and so there’s not much anyone can do to punish him for, uh, wanting a cool new tech gadget.

Au contraire. You can simply get back at Mayor Street by hacking into his iPhone. Independent Security Evaluators have discovered a simple buffer flow exploit that allows a remote computer to take control of an iPhone if the phone user (in this case, Mayor Street) visits a website designed to do such a thing. In the New York TImes article, the phone follows commands from a remote computer and sends back text messages and contacts.

There are no reports of this exploit actually effecting any phones; right now it’s just more of a proof of concept. But still! The Times says the iPhone could even be turned into a portable bugging device. Now how’s John Street gonna sweep his office for bugs this time?

IPhone Flaw Lets Hackers Take Over, Security Firm Says [NYT]
June 29: This Kind Of Sums Up Eight Years Of John Street

Blogicized: God bless the Internet

• Hmm. If you get rid of 75 staffers and apparently have a commitment to annoying, boring writing, you might come up with an annoying, boring, incorrect editorial. But think of the profit margins! [Suburban Guerilla]

• In the grand tradition of “All Your Base” and “Bubb Rubb” comes the newest Internet fad, remixing subway maps with anagrams. How else would we have known that “Fairmount” can be rearrange to spell “I Mourn Fat”? [Philebrity]

• The number and percentage of blacks at Temple has gone down since 1999. Is this a problem? Eh, I dunno. But God help Holy Family if this guy ever finds out the stats on its female-to-male ratio. (It’s 3-to-1. Why I didn’t go to Holy Family, I’ll never know.) [Marc Stier at Large]

• Who would possibly be enough of a loser to hack some blog in Delco? [I Live In Delaware County]

• The Art Museum has a new website. And it appears to be Rocky VI free. But just wait. [JMG Artblog]