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Friday, July 1, 2011

Zombiland for real

Five million Windows PCs in a botnet described as "indestructible" means we all need to sit through the movie Zombiland and consider real Plan-B scenarios. Our "best and brightest" can't agree on a foolproof mechanism for killing the zombie that's eaten your computer's brain. Microsoft's final advice after some prodding by one reporter:
"Microsoft recommends that customers whose systems are infected with Trojan:Win32/Popureb.E, contact Microsoft PCSafety, who can help them identify and remove malware from their systems," said Jerry Bryant, general manager of with Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing group, in an e-mailed statement.
Let's see if I get this right? Lightning-fast zombies are attacking your neighborhood ("Sorry to interrupt your 'manwich,'" said Woody Harrelson as he whacks a zombie with his car door) and the best advice law enforcement (ie, Microsoft) can give you is to "Call 911!" Right. Five million phone calls to Microsoft. A minimum of five million.

Then, without stretching the metaphor too much, Symantec says, "Let the zombie eat your brain, and then download our free (wink-wink, as long as you own our anti-virus tools) eaten-brain-repair kit—presumably downloading it into the same brain that's been eaten by a zombie—and we'll fix you up just fine." Okay, the exact wording in the article is:

Symantec offers a tool to help users do that.
Named "Norton Bootable Discovery Tool," the free download creates a boot disc for starting up the PC without accessing the hard drive -- and thus without loading the infected MBR. Once the Windows machine boots using the recovery disc, the tool downloads new malware signatures -- the digital "fingerprints" antivirus software uses to detect threats -- sniffs out signs of infection and if necessary, cleans the MBR.
Meanwhile, more U.S. Senators have joined auditions for a movie sequel to Jackass. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy has been joined by Senator Charles Schumer and Ben Carin in the competition to be named dumbest man in the U.S. Senate:
One piece of legislation being introduced, The Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2011 by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and co-sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) would mandate organizations that possess personal information to put in place "reasonable" security procedures to keep that data secure.
So your options in today's Zombiland-for-real (did you get out the popcorn yet?) are:

  1. Dial 911;
  2. Pay for a brain transplant after the zombie has made a midnight snack of your brain; or
  3. Don't worry, we've declared it illegal for banks to get taken over by zombies ya-da-ya-da-ya-da, so please send your campaign contributions to the wonderful folks who are keeping the world safe from zombies.
  4. Find your local fifteen-year-old/agoraphobic/OCD/savant/ex-LulzSec hacker (fifteeen years old in case he gets caught, so he can be tried as a juvenile), and give him a few unmarked/untraceable/no-fingerprints-on-them $100 bills to go zombie hunting (Harrelson wielding a machete: "I think we'll take a little off the top.").
Yeah, none of the above options make any sense whatsoever. What we really need is a Plan B. Do you have a Plan B? Several thousand of you know that I do. Sure, I'll package it sometime this summer as fictional entertainment. Stay tuned.

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?