* hackers!
RTS home

Now, this is silly...

Stop. Think for a moment. Follow the easy steps.

  1. Think about the current fragile state of the capital markets:
  2. hacking the City would deplete that mysterious commodity, "confidence" in it;
  3. which would encourage "investors" to put their capital elsewhere;
  4. which would mean lots of people trying to sell sterling;
  5. which would drive the Sacred Pound down;
  6. which would throw a lifeline to... car factories and warship builders.

Conclusion: if any computers in the City do fall over on Mayday, it's nothing to do with anyone bright enough to have a joined-up conversation with anyone who's ever been to an RTS meeting, including the infiltrators.

Never underestimate the collective stupidity of corporate IT departments.

(This argument is specific to current market conditions. Consult RTS before investing under other conditions. Trojan Horses can go down as well as up.)

City on red alert for saboteurs

Evening Standard 10 Apr 2000

City firms have been warned to vet temporary staff in the run up to worldwide anti-capitalist protests on 1 May amid increasing fears that anarchists may try to infiltrate banks and sabotage vital computer systems.

Financial institutions should be wary of temporary workers gaining employment with the intention of planting programmes designed to bring business to a halt, and they are being urged to check references carefully.

The City police's top crime prevention officer, Chief Inspector Norman Russell, also warned that sympathetic staff could help demonstrators by leaving doors open allowing them to storm the buildings. There is risk of potentially greater damage from temporary staff giving out computer passwords, making it easy for hackers outside to get into systems.

Chief Insp Russell said: "We are advising these institutions to watch out for people taking jobs for a few weeks with the intention of infiltrating systems and preparing them for a hacking attack."

Once inside the company, the saboteurs place a tiny file on the computer system, finish their temporary job, and vanish. At the specified time hackers can dial in from anywhere in the world and use the file to open the system to attacks. Alternatively, the saboteurs can even leave programmes which will go into action automatically, crashing the system at a specific time and date.

One of the country's most senior hi-tech security consultants pointed out: "Employees sympathetic to the protesters do not have to be on the IT staff in order to create havoc on computers. Once they are physically inside a building they have effectively stepped over the "firewalls"designed to protect computer systems from outside interference. If they can plug into a wall socket they are then able to get into the network."

To boost the defences against cyber attack MI5 is heading a programme to protect key utilities and vital services like electricity supply, broadcasting, telecommunications and air-traffic control, collectively known as Britain's "critical national infrastructure", or CNI.

City institutions are included in the list and MI5 is operating a system for collating data on the latest threats to computer security and logging all serious hacking intrusions to public and private-sector networks.

However, MI5 sources privately acknowledge that at present they are leaving specific plans to counter the May demonstration firmly in the hands of the Met and City of London police. Thousands of anarchists and other protesters are expected to converge on Washington DC this week to disrupt meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Fearing a repeat of the violent chaos anti-global capitalism and environmental campaigners and anarchists brought to the World Trade Organisation talks in Seattle last November, police in Washington have spent nearly £1 million on riot control equipment.

Officers have been training for weeks to protect the bankers and finance ministers who are expected to attend the normally routine annual talks. Organisers of the "festival of resistance", thought to include forming a human chain around the US Capitol building, have issued guidelines calling for non-violent protests.

Updated
26 Apr 2000

These words are reproduced as fair dealing for the purpose of comment and criticism: send yours. Don't try to make money out of them.