TEK THOTS


Electronic Newsletter



+-+-+-+ +-+-+-+-+-+
    |T|e|k| |T|h|o|t|s|
+-+-+-+ +-+-+-+-+-+


TEK THOTS
Volume 2, Number 2
January 30, 1997
Published irregularly by Scott C. Holstad

=============================================================
Copyright Notice
Copyright (C) 1997  Scott C. Holstad
All enclosed material may be used for non-commercial purposes.
=============================================================

************************************************************************
DISCLAIMER
The views and analysis expressed in Tek Thots are the author's own, and 
do not in any way reflect the views of EarthLink Network, Inc., the 
author's employer.
************************************************************************


CONTENTS

-- News/Editorial
-- PC Thots
-- Mac Thots
-- Web Development Thots
-- This Issue's Plug-in
-- This Issue's ActiveX Control
-- Stock Thots
-- Game Thots
-- Newbie Thot
-- Privacy/Security Thots


=============================================================

News/Editorial
------------------

*	Welcome to the second issue of 1997!  I'm sorry this has taken so long 
for me to put out.  I can blame it on two things:  I've spent a lot of 
time looking for a new apartment, and a couple of rush projects at the 
office.

The readership is growing rapidly, and many are non-US subscribers.  I 
thus decided to figure out where are readers are.  Here's a run-down, 
should anyone else be interested.  We have subscribers in:

Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Russia, 
Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and the following United 
States domains:
	* Commercial
	* Educational
	* Government
	* Military
	* Network
	* Organization
	
Interesting, eh?


*	I finally got a hold of Marimba's Castanet Tuner.  Looks nice, feels 
right -- it's got a lot of potential.  Yet, I keep keying on that word -- 
potential.  Frankly, I didn't see much more than a few games (Rubik's 
Cube anyone?), some Usenet-like postings, and a few other pieces of eye 
candy.  I can't help but feeling, do I really want to litter my desktop 
with a billion useless applets?  Still, as more and more people produce 
content for this technology, the potential could grow into real-time 
worth.


*	AOL.  What can I say that hasn't already been said.  Everyone knows 
about the lawsuits.  Everyone knows about AOL's overselling an 
underavailable product.  Robert Seidman may be the best person to deal 
with on the subject.  Suffice it to say, I think the whole thing was 
entirely predictable.  If AOL users were racking up huge bills by 
chatting endlessly, what the hell did AOL think they'd do when they got 
unlimited access!!!  Now, they're taking one third of the ad budget to 
devote to upgrading their infrastructure.  Hello!!!  Everyone knows you 
exist -- we've all gotten the annoying floppies.  Devote ALL of your ad 
budget, please!  Ironically enough, AOL's competitors are all benefiting 
from reams of ticked off AOL users streaming elsewhere.


* 	Word has it that Netscape's beta version of its Migration Toolkit 1.0 
is very buggy and real, real slow.  Painfully slow.  Nonetheless, 
proprietary mail systems can be successfully migrated with it, so it 
certainly stands a look-see.  Has anyone else started thinking, though, 
that Netscape has started to emulate a certain competitor (first initial: 
M) a bit too much --  a lot of their recent software releases have been 
buggy, buggy, buggy.  Can we say Alpha?


=============================================================

PC Thots
-----------

*	Windows users who are also spam haters now have an easy way of fighting 
back!  Net Services is putting out a freebie called (appropriately 
enough) Spam Hater, and I really like it so far.  Get this: It analyses 
the spam and extracts a list of relevant addresses (postmaster, etc.), it 
generates whois and traceroute queries, prepares an editable reply (which 
you can make really nasty, insulting, or sarcastic, etc.), appends a copy 
of the spam, and more!  Very cool.  Easy to use --simply GUI.  Works with 
many email clients (Eudora, Pegasus, Netscape, etc.).  I realize we 
shouldn't necessarily go around flaming everyone who spams us ... but, 
darn it, it feels so good!  You can check it out at 
http://www.compulink.co.uk/~net-services/spam/.  Lemme know what you 
think.


*	Did you see the massive MMX splash made upon its recent release?  
Seemed like the papers were chock full of nothing but MMX ads from 
manufacturers to retailers.  I noticed many companies putting out some 
info explaining MMX' significance, but many others didn't.  
Interestingly, I wrote a piece a few weeks ago called "Decoding MMX" 
(http://www.earthlink.net/daily/tuesday/MMX/), which elicited a massive 
amount of feedback, mostly questions.  That indicated to me that, while 
there's a lot of interest, there are even more questions.  Intel's put 
out a site called mmx.com which is fairly useful.  Even though I've tried 
pointing people to the source, many people have stilled tried to pin me 
down as to my thots.  OK, here they are:  MMX is cool, and will be a big 
part of Intel's strategy for the near future.  However, don't throw away 
your nearly-new P166 just because it isn't MMX-enabled -- there simply 
aren't that many apps out yet which take advantage of MMX, and there'll 
be overdrive chips out this summer.  Conversely, if in the market for a 
new PC, I wouldn't buy a straight Pentium now, just to save a few bucks.  
MMX Pentiums should just be about $50 more, and more and more apps will 
require the technology.


*	Speaking of Intel, they're cutting prices on all of the straight 
Pentium chips. P133 prices dropped by about 33%, while P200 prices fell 
about 2%.  Still, I wouldn't run out and buy one just cause of falling 
prices.  It's pretty well known that Intel wants to dump straight 
Pentiums anyway, moving everything to MMX and the P6 (I still hate 
calling it the Pentium Pro).


*	Samsung, already 49% owners of AST, now want to bail AST out 
completely, by buying them.  They've issued a $469 million plan to buy 
'em out.  One word: Why?


=============================================================

Mac Thots
-------------

*	Gil came out and admitted it this week: layoffs!  With the $120 million 
loss from this last quarter, Apple continues its downslide.  So, people 
are going to be SOL.  Moreover, he seriously hinted at ditching the 
Newton, which has never made money.


*	I hate to admit this, but I'm becoming more and more attached to IE3 
(final version).  I'm enjoying the news client, among other things.  
While I favor Agent for PCs, I've never become particularly fond of Mac 
newsreaders.  Anyway, IE3 has a slightly different interface than its PC 
brother, but retains similar strengths.  If you haven't downloaded yet, 
you really should check it out.


=============================================================

Web Development Thots
-------------------------------

*	Well, those VRML people have been getting pretty heated.  Not too 
surprisingly, Netscape and Microsoft are going at it, each having 
selected rival VRML viewers, and each claiming to be the true bearer of 
the  standard.  Netscape is joining up with SGI (Live 3D and Cosmo 
Player), while Microsoft is licensing VRML viewers from Dimension X 
(Java) and Intervista (C++). 

The head honcho of the VRML Consortium sounded a little miffed recently 
over things, claiming that VRML 2.0 specs are just fine without 
Microsoft's stated plans of throwing their own VRML specs out toward a 
different standards organization.

The truth is, VRML is still in its infant stages, and it may take this 
sort of typical Microsoft bullying tactic to energize the field....


*	Ironically enough, Microsoft is actually backing off on something for 
once.  They're rewording their Java SDK licensing agreement to allay 
fears that their apps will be legally bound to run exclusively on 
Microsoft's Java VM.  This is a direct result of many developers simply 
balking at using Microsoft tools for developing Java-based apps -- 
obviously, Microsoft's licensing wording would defeat 
platform-independent development.  This is a long overdue move on 
Microsoft's part, but actions speak louder than words, so we should 
probably wait and see what Microsoft's next move is.


*	See what you think about this: Finjan Software is preparing to 
introduce an app designed to limit dangers posed by executables, 
specifically Java applets and ActiveX controls.  Their SurfinGate 1.0 is 
supposed to be similar to AV software, in that it checks 
Web-based executables for various problems.  Sitting next to a firewall, 
it digitally signs  executables deemed safe and creates profiles of each 
applet.  Those profiles are checked against user-defined security 
policies before the applets are allowed onto the network.  The software 
runs on NT and Unix (I don't know which flavors), and is priced between 
$13K and $19K.

Apparently, Finjan also offers $49 SurfinShield client software, which 
sits at the desktop and checks Java applets as they are downloaded.  I 
haven't had a chance to test it out though; I 'd love to hear from 
someone who has.


=============================================================

This Issue's Plug-in
------------------------

*	In all candor, I really, really haven't seen too many plug-ins out 
there which have done anything for me recently.  (Please, if anyone knows 
of anything moderately useful or interesting, lemme know soon!) In fact, 
the world of plug-ins has been so dead, I'm considering discontinuing 
this segment of Tech Thots.  I'd appreciate any feedback the readers 
would have on that idea.

Nonetheless, this issue's plug-in is useful for ActiveX developers who 
want to port their app to Netscape.  NCompass's ScriptActive 
(http://www.ncompasslabs.com/products/scriptactive.htm) is a conversion 
tool which lets you port your controls right to Netscape.  I think this 
is ideal.  My complaint?  The downloadable version of ScriptActive is 
only a demo -- ya gotta buy the real thing!


=============================================================

This Issue's ActiveX Control
-----------------------------------

*	Microcom's Carbon Copy is remote control, file transfer and remote 
PC/network access software for using files and apps on a remote terminal. 
While UNIX users have obviously been able to do this easily for quite 
some time, this GUI app is a nice PC addition. Decent client app -- LAN 
users may want to check it out too.  You can download it at 
http://www.microcom.com/cc/ccwactx.exe.


=============================================================

Stock Thots
--------------

* 	I remember it wasn't that long ago that many people were predicting 
Intel would fall on its face because of challenges issues by Cyrix and 
AMD, among others.  Well, Intel is doing anything but that -- they're 
surging!  Their fourth quarter profits were close to $2 billion ($2.13 a 
share); last year it was under $900 million for the same period.  Why?  P 
chip sales, as well as increasingly Pentium Pro sales.  Also, the 
continued growth of the Internet, the rapid penetration of PCs into newer 
markets (read: Asia), and massive PC corporate upgrades.  Now they're 
going with a 2-for-1 stock split.  With MMX out now, look for continued 
growth....


*	Yahoo is jamming!  Their stock has gone up nicely, all because after 
two consecutive quarters of losses, they announced fourth quarter profits 
of $96,000.  This, upon expectations of an estimated loss of 5 cents per 
share.  Most analysts didn't expect Yahoo to see a profit, even a tiny 
one, until later this year.  

Why'd they do so well?  Advertising.  Yahoo's base of advertisers 
increased to 550 in the fourth quarter, up from 340 the preceding three 
months.  Their overseas expansion also worked out pretty well -- the 
Japanese site added over a million hits per day.

It's interesting, too, because there's a lot of ambivalence out there 
about Yahoo.  Indeed, all week, I've been engaging in an at times heated 
discussion with someone about Yahoo's relevance as a viable service.  I 
continue to assert that Yahoo, as a tool, is a great directory and 
starting point.  Beyond that, well, their content plans seem to be going 
in the right direction.


*	Remember Cybercast, that "cutting edge" company that created The Spot?  
Boom -- outta here! American Cybercast filed Chapter 11 a week or so ago.  
Evidently, they've laid off 25 of 40 employees, but somehow they're going 
to continue to produce The Spot and The Pyramid.  Recently, the 
president, Sheri Herman, was removed from her post just days after she 
confirmed the company's dire straights.  Believe me -- many, many content 
providers are looking at this story.  It doesn't bode well for many of 
the more spurious providers, cause it wasn't too long ago that The Spot 
was reeling them in, and had decent financial backing.  It'll be 
interesting to see it play out.


*	DEC's stock rose after a massive second-quarter drop in profits.  
Digital reported that second-quarter earnings dropped to $31.9 million, 
down from $148.8 million a year earlier.  Maybe that's because of new 
64-bit workstations, as well as continued downsizing.  The company dumped 
about 1100 employees over the past quarter.


=============================================================

Game Thots
--------------
	
*	These game demo ideas are brought to us courtesy of Eugene Ridenour, 
EarthLink's Gamemaster.


PC Game of the Issue:  Diablo

Diablo invites you to enter a world of dark gothic fantasy.  Play as a 
brave Warrior, cunning Rogue, or mysterious Sorcerer.  As you venture 
deeper into the labyrinth, you'll discover weapons, armor, and magical 
treasures, and develop your character's skills and abilities.  You might 
also want to bring a friend or two to help... Built in support for 
Battle.net, as well as modem, serial, and network play, insures that 
you'll never have to go in alone.  
(http://www.blizzard.com/diablo/diablo.htm)

Mac Game of the Issue:  Rama

Recognizing that the marriage of PC games and novels is the literature of 
the future, writers Gentry Lee and Arthur C. Clarke have traded in their 
pens and paper for design specs and bleeding edge multimedia technology.  
With Lee working behind the computer screen, and Clarke working in front 
of it, soon the release of Rama will debut a new age of interactive 
literature.  (http://www.sierra.com/entertainment/rama/)


=============================================================

Newbie Thot
----------------

*	Ever wonder how those Web counters work on certain pages you access -- 
the ones which tell you 9 billion people have visited that page?  Ever 
wonder how forms work, Web surveys, how Netscape's Store works?  CGI, my 
friends -- the Common Gateway Interface.  Learn about it from an article 
I recently wrote on the topic, located at 
http://www.earthlink.net/daily/tuesday/cgi/.


=============================================================

Privacy/Security Thots
---------------------------

*	I don't know about you, but I have very ambivalent feelings when it 
comes to censorship and the Net. On one hand, I'm pretty much against any 
government attempt to censor Net content. Conversely, I'm not real 
thrilled with the idea of 5 year olds checking out the porn sites 
unsupervised (let alone, at all) -- especially if this means more 
government interference.  Thus, I've been a proponent of those porn 
protector programs -- the ones that block out certain sites.  Such 
programs allow parents to oversee what their kids will see.  Now, 
however, comes a story which elicits some reservations within me.  I 
would expect blocking software to typically confine the blocking to 
porn-related sites, although I s'pose a software manufacturer could block 
whatever they choose to block.  However, this case seems different.  The 
editor of The Ethical Spectacle co-authored a book focusing on porn 
protectors.  In it, the authors urged readers not to buy Cybersitter, 
because it blocked political sites like NOW.  After the book came out, 
Cybersitter added the Ethical Spectacle's Web site to their list of 
blocked sites. While it's within Cybersitter's right to do this, it 
strikes me as little more than a nasty bullying retaliatory tactic on 
their part.  More importantly, what does this imply about the future of 
the Net.  With increased (attempted) governmental regulation, now we have 
private companies using their censoring software to essentially blacklist 
critics or political opponents.... Doesn't seem very good to me.  How to 
Tek Thots readers feel about this?  Whatever the case, here's the press 
release, taken from http://www.spectacle.org/alert/cs.html.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jonathan Wallace 
jw@bway.net

NEW YORK CITY, January 19, 1997--In an apparent act of retaliation 
against a critic of the company, Solid Oak Sofware has added The Ethical 
Spectacle (http://www.spectacle.org) to the list of Web sites blocked by 
its Cybersitter software.

The Ethical Spectacle is a monthly Webzine examining the intersection of 
ethics, law and politics in our society, which recently urged its readers 
not to buy Cybersitter because of Solid Oak's unethical behavior. The 
Ethical Spectacle is edited by Jonathan Wallace, a New York- based 
software executive and attorney who is the co-author, with Mark Mangan, 
of Sex, Laws and Cyberspace (Henry Holt, 1996), a book on Internet 
censorship. 

"In the book," Wallace said, "we took the position-- naively, I now 
think--that use of blocking software by parents was a less restrictive 
alternative to government censorship. We never expected that publishers 
of blocking software would block sites for their political content alone, 
as Solid Oak has done."

Solid Oak describes its product as blocking sites which contain obscene 
and indecent material, hate speech, and advocacy of violence and illegal 
behavior. In late 1996, computer journalists Declan McCullagh 
(declan@well.com) and Brock Meeks (brock@well.com) broke the story that 
Cybersitter blocked the National Organization for Women site along with 
other political and feminist organizations. In addition, the product 
blocked entire domains such as well.com, maintained by the venerable Well 
online service.

McCullagh and Meeks implied that they had received an inner look at the 
Cybersitter database of blocked sites from someone who had reverse 
engineered the software. Shortly afterwards, Solid Oak asked the FBI to 
begin a criminal investigation of the two journalists and accused college 
student Bennett Haselton (bennett@peacefire.org) of being their source. 
Though McCullagh, Meeks and Haselton all denied he was the source (or 
that anything illegal had occurred), Solid Oak president Brian Milburn 
called Haselton an "aspiring felon" and threatened to add his Internet 
service provider to the blocked list if it did not muzzle Haselton.

Haselton came to Milburn's attention by founding Peacefire, a student 
organization opposing censorship. On his Web pages, Haselton posted an 
essay called "Where Do We Not Want You to Go Today?" criticizing Solid 
Oak. The company promptly added Peacefire to its blocked list, claiming 
that Haselton had reverse engineered its software, an allegation for 
which the company has never produced any evidence.

"At that point," Wallace said, "I felt Milburn was acting like the 
proverbial 800-pound gorilla. I added a link to the Spectacle top page 
called 'Don't Buy Cybersitter'. Anyone clicking on the link would see a 
copy of Bennett's 'Where Do We Not Want You to
Go' page with some added material, including my thoughts on the 
inappropriateness of Solid Oak's behavior. I wrote the company, informing 
them of my actions and telling them that they misrepresent their product 
when they claim it blocks only indecent material, hate speech and the 
like."

Solid Oak has now responded by blocking The Ethical Spectacle. "I wrote 
to Milburn and to Solid Oak technical support demanding an explanation," 
Wallace said. "I pointed out that The Spectacle does not fit any of their 
published criteria for blocking a site. I received mail in return 
demanding that I cease writing to them and calling my mail 
'harassment'--with a copy to the postmaster at my ISP." 

Wallace continued: "With other critics such as Declan, Brock and Bennett, 
Solid Oak has claimed reverse engineering of its software, in supposed 
violation of its shrink-wrapped license. I have never downloaded, 
purchased or used Cybersitter, nor had any access to its database. I 
believe that Solid Oak's sole reason for blocking my site is the 'Don't 
Buy Cybersitter' page, criticizing the company's bullying behavior."

The Ethical Spectacle includes the internationally respected An Auschwitz 
Alphabet, a compilation of resources pertaining to the Holocaust. "Sixty 
percent of the Spectacle's traffic consists of visitors to the Holocaust 
materials," Wallace said. "Schoolteachers
have used it in their curricula, it was the subject of a lecture at a 
museum in Poland some weeks ago, and every month, I get letters from 
schoolchildren thanking me for placing it online. Now, due to Solid Oak's 
actions, Cybersitter's claimed 900,000 users will no longer have access 
to it."

Solid Oak can be contacted at blocking.problems@solidoak.com, or care of 
its president, Brian Milburn (bmilburn@solidoak.com.)

-END-


*	Last word had it that Mitnick's still in Solitary.  Amazing what 
reading 2600 will get you these days....


*	Tek Thots AV Scanning Results:

PRODUCT			Number Caught (out of 200)		%

Anywhere AV			199				99.5%
Dr. Solomon's FindVirus (7.68)	199				99.5%%
ThunderBYTE  			199 				99.5%
   (Tbav for Windows 95 v7.06)
F-PROT (v. 2.24c) 		197 				98.5%
Sophos Sweep 			196 				98%
IBM Antivirus 			195 				97.5%
Invircible			195				97.5%
McAfee VirusScan 95 (2.01.218)	194 				97%
Leprechaun			193				96.5%
Norton AntiVirus 		191				95.5%

Notes:  Word has it that Office 97 is pretty susceptible to viruses, and 
that Microsoft hasn't done squat.  They didn't get versions out to the AV 
companies, so said companies didn't have time for appropriate R&D.  When 
Macros first started appearing, they really caused a few problems; let's 
hope there's not a massive repeat.


*	The NSA and DISA are teaming to establish an Information Warfare 
Technology Center.  This center is supposed to focus on providing 
intelligence support, timely and accurate threat assessments and R & D re 
tools and methods to improve protection of defense information systems.  
Interestingly, this follows on the DoD announcement of some months ago 
that estimated that defense-centric computers likely experienced over a 
quarter of a million!!! computer attacks last year.  And what did they 
base THOSE stats on?  38,000 attacks made by DISA over a period of 
several years on government computers, only 4% of which were caught, and 
only 27% of which were reported.  They're basing wide ranging estimates 
on this!!!  Now, I'm one of the first to admit that government security 
has often been lax; indeed, we've seen many recent (alleged) examples.  
However, these are the sorts of estimates/studies that make me nervous, 
because you KNOW the Feds are going to want every right handed to them on 
a silver platter....


*	From Secrecy & Government Bulletin, #64

Happy New Year from the Washington Times

"We believe in stories that make you say 'holy shit' when you read them," 
said Bill Gertz of the Washington Times in a flattering profile of him 
that appeared in the conservative Weekly Standard (12/2/96, p. 18).

Over the past couple of years, Mr. Gertz has written more stories based 
on classified government documents than you can shake a stick at, 
infuriating Clinton Administration officials and making a mockery of 
official classification policy (S&GB 61).

But on New Year's Day, Gertz and the Washington Times surpassed 
themselves and challenged a legal precedent by publishing a U.S. spy 
satellite photograph. The photograph portrayed the Russian aircraft 
carrier Varyag being prepared for dismantlement in the Ukraine's 
Nikolayev shipyard (1/1/97, page A3). In its enthusiasm for a hot story, 
the Times even transcended its own political predispositions, which do 
not usually lend themselves to exposing the decrepitude of the Russian 
military.

The satellite photograph was reproduced from a top secret CIA report, 
obtained by Mr. Gertz, which explained that "The destruction of the... 
Varyag will virtually eliminate Russia's chances of acquiring new 
carriers capable of operating high performance, fixed-wing aircraft for 
at least 10 years."

While the story is interesting in itself, publication of the accompanying 
satellite photograph is a bombshell in terms of secrecy policy. For one 
thing, "This is the first 'overhead' image to leak in over a decade, and 
it is certainly the only image from the new generation of 
photoreconnaissance satellites," said John Pike of FAS.

But what is breathtaking about the Times photo is its historical 
resonance. In 1984, satellite photos depicting the construction of a 
nearly identical aircraft carrier (the Varyag's sister-ship Kuznetsov) in 
the very same shipyard were leaked to Jane's Defence Weekly. Following a 
landmark trial, the leaker-- Samuel Loring Morison, a Navy intelligence 
analyst-- ended up serving two years in jail. Incredibly, the charge 
against Morison was espionage, marking the first time that anyone had 
ever been convicted of a crime, let alone espionage, for providing 
classified information to the media. (United States v. Morison, 604 F. 
Supp. 655, appeal dismissed, 774 F.2d 1156 [4th Cir.], cert. denied, 109 
S. Ct. 259
[1988]).

For a time in the 1980s, the Morison conviction seemed to portend an 
American version of England's Official Secrets Act, with all of the 
chilling effects on the media that that would entail. Some idiosyncratic 
voices even went so far as to call for prosecuting media outlets that 
publish classified information. "If society actually does believe that 
the media has the right to publish classified material, then society is 
mistaken!" wrote retired security official George P. Morse in a cranky 
but fun tirade called America Twice Betrayed: Reversing 50 Years of 
Government Security Failure (Bartleby Press, Silver Spring, MD, p. 194).

The worst fears engendered by the Morison case did not come to pass, and 
today most national news outlets routinely report classified information, 
fueling the congressional oversight process and adding an essential 
dimension to government accountability. Furthermore, this role is all but 
universally recognized and accepted. "I do not fault the media when 
sensitive information is published or broadcast," FBI Director Louis 
Freeh told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on December 19. "To the 
contrary, it is a fundamental part of our democratic system that the 
media vigorously pursue information about the inner workings of 
government."

So no one suggests that the Washington Times or Mr. Gertz has done 
anything wrong. "To the contrary." But by almost precisely replicating 
the action which led to Morison's conviction, they have vividly 
demonstrated their contempt for the Morison precedent. 

As for Mr. Gertz's source-- who is the counterpart to Samuel Morison in 
this case-- he has defied official classification policy in about the 
most provocative manner possible, practically daring security officials 
to catch him. But although the FBI currently has 17 investigations into 
unauthorized disclosures of classified information underway, the 
government appears incapable of stemming the continuing erosion of 
security discipline represented by this and many other instances.

Official reaction to the Washington Times story and photo was muted, 
masking a undercurrent of outrage and exhilaration.

"It was not an authorized release," said Katherine Schneider of the 
National Reconnaissance Office. "We don't comment on things like this."

Mark Mansfield of the Central Intelligence Agency declined to address the 
Times story specifically, but told S&GB generally that "Deliberate 
unauthorized disclosure of sensitive classified information compromises 
the national security, putting at risk lives and vital U.S. interests. It 
also puts at risk intelligence sources and methods of operation that can 
take years to develop, often at great expense."

But one intelligence community official told S&GB that "Though it was an 
egregious violation of security, I am secretly happy that people get to 
see how good we are once in a while."

A copy of the satellite photo, reproduced from the Washington Times, may 
be found at http://www.fas.org/irp/imint/kh-12.htm. A copy of the Morison 
photo published in Jane's in August 1984 is at 
http://www.fas.org/irp/imint/kh-11.htm.


*	A few issues back I wrote about the interesting New Zealand-based, 
NSA-developed ECHELON spy system. This system is used to intercept 
ordinary (read: non-military) email, fax, and telephone communications 
carried over the world's telecommunications networks. Well, even though 
I'm sure some parties aren't incredibly pleased, exposure about this 
system has been increasing recently.  In addition to the book I mentioned 
in that issue, there's an interesting Web page up which discusses this 
issue.  You can find it at 
http://MediaFilter.org/caq/CAQ59GlobalSnoop.html.


*	Evidently Lockheed Martin's Tactical Aircraft Systems Division is 
working hard to recycle aging F-16s and turn them into F-16/UCAVs 
(Uninhabited Combat Aerial Vehicles).  According to Steve Douglass 
(http://users.arn.net/~webbfeat/PROJECT%20BLACK/ucav.html), "the aircraft 
would have its wings removed and would be fitted with 60-ft. straight 
wing holding 22,000 lbs. of fuel giving the F-16/UCAV an 8 hour combat 
patrol capability.  Weapons store modifications would enable the aircraft 
to carry up to six 2,000 pound class weapons on the wings and on a 
centerline pod.  The ordinance of choice would either be bombs or 
high-speed BPI (boost phase intercept) missiles capable of knocking down 
Scud or any type of ballistic missiles while they are in their first 2 
minutes of flight."  With F-16/UCAVs, SCUD-like missiles could be 
eliminated with pilot risk -- at least, that's the idea.  


*	So, the REPORT OF THE DEFENSE SCIENCE BOARD TASK FORCE ON INFORMATION 
WARFARE-DEFENSE (http://jya.com/iwd.htm) has gotten a lot of press 
lately.  Even saw something about it in the Wall Street Journal.  Have 
you folks checked this out?  This report was written by a committee 
(surprise!) called the Defense
Science Board Task Force on Information Warfare, and it contains some 
golden nuggets.  One of the beauties was one of the shmuck authors (an 
Admiral, I believe) being quoted in the journal as advocating sending 
polymorphic viruses into the computers of hackers who attempt to 
penetrate Defense computers. Aside from the obvious ethical implications, 
have they even considered HOW -- logistically -- this would be 
accomplished!!!  Can we say SCI FI?  Does he realize that this isn't 
possible or practical?  No, of course not.  One of my colleagues ended up 
calling half the people in Washington, only to finally hear some PR flack 
admit that this person didn't know what he was talking about when he made 
that statement.  

There were a number of interesting things in the document itself.  Among 
the options for defeating hackers suggested are these vague virus 
counterattacks, increased government monitoring of the Net (gee, that's a 
shocker!), a Federal 911 line for tech support during hacker attacks, the 
deployment of the National Guard, and the option for the presidential 
DECLARATION OF WAR if hackers threaten to cause catastrophic damage.  
"Yes, Hello, Feds?  Some kid is rummaging around my hard drive right now, 
stealing dirty pictures.  Could you send a tank over?"  


=============================================================

SUBSCRIPTION INFO

To Subscribe:  Send email to sch@well.com.  In the subject line, write 
"subscribe tek thots."  In the message area, write your email address.

To Unsubscribe: :  Send email to sch@well.com.  In the subject line, 
write "unsubscribe tek thots."  In the message area, write your email 
address.


At this point and until further notice, the email list will be handled 
manually.

=============================================================

Online versions of this electronic newsletter will be archived at: 
http://www.well.com/user/sch/tekthots.html.


Copyright (C) 1997  Scott C. Holstad
ASCII Tek Thots logo courtesy Teri Osato




Click on to return to Tek Thots.