January 30th, 2009

A Facebook viral experiment.

Nassim Taleb created a Facebook group called Make Bankers Accountable, which has now been linked in a number of blogs, including in Paul Kedrosky's and in Zero Hedge.

Here's the description:
Make bankers accountable for the mess! They got rich HIDING RISK and put INNOCENT people in this mess.
Mission Statement: At Davos 2009, Taleb was quoted as saying that people like Robert Rubin, who received over $100 million serving as chairman of New York-based Citigroup Inc.'s executive committee, need to be punished for their failure to understand the risks their institutions were taking. He said that unless Rubin and others like him are made to mandatorily return their bonuses or are given some other punishment, the system that regrettably emerges is one "in which it’s the worst of capitalism and socialism, a situation in which profits were privatized and losses were socialized. We taxpayers have the worst.”

Nassim Taleb: "This will stand as the biggest government-sponsored scam in history". Investment bankers are way ahead; the small guy is paying the price.
"Let's see how it spreads," he says.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused
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Do I really need to post this?

Look, that you weren't able to date in high school does not mean you get to make up for lost time by hitting on high school kids now. It's too late. This may not seem fair to you, but that's life. Cope.

Before someone calls the police.
  • Current Mood
    creeped out

Nice try, Mr. Makwana.

From http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/management/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212903521:
Fannie Mae Contractor Indicted For Logic Bomb

It was mere chance that a senior Unix engineer with Fannie Mae discovered a logic bomb.

The logic bomb, a malicious script designed to wipe Fannie Mae's 4,000 servers, was allegedly placed by Rajendrasinh Makwana, an IT contractor who worked in Fannie Mae's Urbana, Md., facility. It was set to execute on Jan. 31. Had it done so, Fannie Mae engineers expect it would have caused millions of dollars in damage and possibly shut down the government-sponsored mortgage lender for a week.

"On October 24, 2008, at 2:53 pm, a successful SSH (secure shell) login from IP address, with user ID s9urbm, assigned to Makwana, gained root access to dsysadmin01, the development server," the affidavit states. "... IP address was last assigned to the computer named rs12h-Lap22, which was [a Fannie Mae] laptop assigned to Makwana. ... The laptop and Unix workstation where Makwana was able to gain root access and create the malicious script were located in his cubicle."
The Register reports:
Rajendrasinh Babubahai Makwana, 35, of Virginia, concealed the Unix script on Fannie Mae's main administrative server on October 24, the same day the Unix engineer was terminated, according to court documents made public Tuesday. His script was programmed to remain dormant for three months, when it would greet administrators with a login message that read "Server Graveyard" and systematically replace all data with zeros on every production, administrative, and backup server in the company.

The allegations also lay out a cautionary tale about the risk of lax security practices at highly sensitive enterprises. Despite his dismissal on October 24, Makwana's highly privileged computer access wasn't terminated until late into the evening because of bureaucratic procedures in Fannie's procurement department, according to court documents.

Shortly after Makwana was informed he was being fired, he logged in to Fannie's main development server and embedded a series of malicious scripts inside a legitimate program. To conceal the malicious payload, he created a page worth of blank lines between the legitimate code and the malicious code.

"When the program ascertained it was January 31, 2009, it would copy the rest of the files from the '.soti' file from the dsysadm01 server and run the .y.sh script," a FBI special agent wrote in a sworn statement that referred to Fannie as ABC to protect its identity. "The .y.sh script would place a blocker on the monitoring system disabling any ABC engineers from receiving a monitoring alert for any problems on any machines in the entire ABC environment for 61 minutes."

Makwana's script would then disable logins to Fannie's administrative and backup production servers; remove the root password appliance access; rewrite all data, including backup software, with zeros; and target any "high availability" software. It would then replicate itself to each of Fannie's 4,000 servers.

For thoroughness, the script would then execute all over again on a separate administrative server in case some of the company's servers couldn't be reached from the first one.

Like so many other saboteurs, though, Makwana also appeared to make careless mistakes. He allegedly planted his malicious script via a secure shell login from his Fannie-issued laptop using an IP address Fannie had assigned to him.

Shortly before planting the script, Makwana - a native of India who was employed by an unknown IT outsourcing firm - also emailed relatives in that country using a Fannie address and told them not to return to the US.
Tyler Durden comments:
Apparently 35-year-old Rajendrasinh Makwana decided that the best way to deal with the ongoing depression is to give everyone a fresh start and delete the mortgage files for a large number of U.S. residents. He was going to distribute a computer virus in the Fannie computer network that would destroy all of Fannie's data.

Fannie and Freddie together own about $6 trillion of mortgages. Come to think of it, this may very well be a brilliant idea.
Obviously, FNM has backups.

Edit: ZDnet has linked to the complaint filed by the FBI at http://i.zdnet.com/blogs/fmncomplaint.pdf. There's a bit more detail there, including that Makwana had been contracted out from the software development company Omnitech.