Joe Wojciechowski. A web log.

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Everything Is Broken →

Recently an anonymous hacker wrote a script that took over embedded Linux devices. These owned computers scanned the whole rest of the internet and create a survey. The little hacked boxes reported their data back (a full 10 TBs) and quietly deactivated the hack. It was a sweet and useful example of someone who hacked the planet to shit. If that malware had actually been malicious, we would have been so fucked.

This is because all computers are reliably this bad: the ones in hospitals and governments and banks, the ones in your phone, the ones that control light switches and smart meters and air traffic control systems. Industrial computers that maintain infrastructure and manufacturing are even worse. I don’t know all the details, but those who do are the most alcoholic and nihilistic people in computer security. Another friend of mine accidentally shut down a factory with a malformed ping at the beginning of a pen test. For those of you who don’t know, a ping is just about the smallest request you can send to another computer on the network. It took them a day to turn everything back on.

See also the Fundamental Failure-Mode Theorem. The fact that any of this crap works at all is utterly in spite of the fact that 80% of everything is failing all the time and the remaining 20%, which consists wholly of baling wire and duct tape, will be unfixable in a few short years without another layer of spit and bubblegum.

Now realize that this is true of essentially the entirety of modern civilization, and proceed to drink heavily.