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Spam Text Prematurely Blows Up Suicide Bomber 573

Posted by samzenpus
from the spam-redeems-itself dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "A suicide bomber's plan to detonate explosives in Central Moscow on New Year's Eve was foiled when she received an unexpected spam text message that caused her deadly payload to blow up too early. A message wishing her a happy new year came hours before the unnamed woman was to set off her suicide belt near Red Square, an act of terrorism that could have killed hundreds of people. Islamist terrorists in Russia often use mobile phones as detonators. The bomber's handler, who is usually watching his charge, sends the bomber a text message to set off the explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties."
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Spam Text Prematurely Blows Up Suicide Bomber

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  • by dr_db (202135) on Friday January 28, 2011 @11:58AM (#35033004)

    Made me think of Achmed and his 'premature detonation.'

    Sad to think this is how people need to express their world view, happy when it turns out like this for them.

    • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:06PM (#35033168) Journal

      I think this is the kind of terrorism we can all get behind - where the terrorist blows himself up without harming other people.

      • by mysidia (191772) on Friday January 28, 2011 @02:18PM (#35035206)

        I think this is the kind of terrorism we can all get behind - where the terrorist blows himself up without harming other people.

        What's even better than this... is, now, a spammer can go to jail for involuntary manslaughter.

        Yes, the only person slain was a terrorist, but the spammer did not know that.

        • I don't like spammers either, but to charge the spammer with anything you have to show at least some culpability. The spammer had to know there was a non-negligible chance his junk messages could cause direct harm to someone as a result of the message.

          The bomb didn't go off as a result of the message - it went off because the bomb builder was an idiot and didn't go to the trouble of writing a simple cell phone app or setting the phone to only ring when messages from a certain sender telephone number arrive

      • by tunapez (1161697)

        Hey, it worked for Bouazizi [wikipedia.org], look at Tunisia now!
        It appears to be working in Egypt [theworld.org] and elsewhere, too.

        Bummer for the fear-mongering war machine executives, how do you save the masses from themselves????

    • by sonnejw0 (1114901)
      I hope the terrorists use AT&T, because my txts get delayed all the time!
    • by mangu (126918) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:18PM (#35033378)

      Another funny story about a terrorist bomb premature detonation was one of a car bomb that detonated on a deserted Israeli road.

      Comparing the remains of the driver's wristwatch with the clock attached to the bomb in the car's trunk, Israeli experts came to the conclusion that the bomb clock was set to Israeli time, which was in daylight saving mode, and the driver's was set to Palestinian time, which wasn't.

      • Another funny story about a terrorist bomb premature detonation was one of a car bomb that detonated on a deserted Israeli road.

        Its a little sad that you would view someones death by suicide bombing-- even the bomber's-- as funny. Of course during a war / struggle / conflict it is common to demonize the "enemy" in order to make it easier to hate them, but you tend to lose some of your humanity in the process.

        • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday January 28, 2011 @02:06PM (#35035012) Journal
          We're talking about people who like blowing up not just school children (shock value), but just regular old normal people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, whatever, hanging out at a restaurant getting something to eat, having a business meeting, talking about saving the environment, talking about destroying the environment, getting ready to proposition someone for steady dating, etc. People whose intent is to bring the death of non-combatants, not soldiers who have put themselves in a position to be a target. They gain nothing but the glory of killing innocents that they don't like for some reason. These people are honorless cowards and they are serving honorless cowards. Their lives are worth nothing.
          • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday January 28, 2011 @02:54PM (#35035810)

            They would likely level similar accusations against us, and who's to say how much of the information they have is correct?

            honorless

            By honorless, do you mean "their concept of honor is not one I agree with, therefore they have none"? Im sure in their eyes it is quite honorable; it seems pointless do discuss honor from opposite sides of the battlefield. It seems just as "honorless" to sit from the comfort of your home laughing as someone straps a bomb to their chest and takes their own life.

            Regardless of that, is it not sad that someone would come to that point, that they would view whatever enemy they envision worthy of such hatred that they are willing to inflict civilian casualties? I see nothing humorous about the situation whatsoever, from their intent to their outcome.

        • by xaoslaad (590527) on Friday January 28, 2011 @02:26PM (#35035342)
          No, I'm pretty sure I am human when I am happy to see someone who wishes to cause others harm kill themselves before they get the chance. Being enlightened before they decide to do it is a good choice too, but death works just as well.

          People like you who try to empathize with evil people are no longer human. They are wrong. Period. They want to KILL people. KILL. OTHER. PEOPLE. Which one of those words don't you understand. I am HAPPY, THRILLED, ECSTATIC, that they did not get the chance. 10's, dozens, possibly hundreds of others get to live now. That brings me JOY. A tear to my eye. ELATION.

          You can say what you want about the US government and its military, but we don't intentionally target civilians, we don't kill indiscriminately even people who may be on our side, etc. etc. There are accidents, friendly fire casualties, bad apples, and a lot of other bad shit that happens, but it is war and it is chaotic. We try our best not to harm the innocents or our own.

          These monsters walk right into the biggest pile of innocent civilians they can find and detonate themselves.

          So while people like you sit idly by and think of the children, there are some people who work hard to prevent it, and get a little joy when the enemy screws up. You're wrong, not them. Get off your pedestal.
        • Really? Is this where we are now? I am supposed to be upset that a sociopath that is trying to maim and kill other people dies by their own ineptitude? Most people are upset by injustice in the world. Riots have been touched off on occasion when the criminal justice system fails to deliver a verdict that aligns with the populist concept of what would be just. When a story like this pops up, it resonates with people because the 'victim' experiences true justice, inflicting on themselves the very same fate th
        • Its a little sad that you would view someones death by suicide bombing-- even the bomber's-- as funny. Of course during a war / struggle / conflict it is common to demonize the "enemy" in order to make it easier to hate them, but you tend to lose some of your humanity in the process.

          I won't lose any humanity finding the humor/irony in a suicide bomber who was planning on killing innocent people blown up by another scourge of the civilized world, spam. Anytime a suicide bomber blows themselves up and doesn't kill any innocent people it's a good thing.

        • by paiute (550198) on Friday January 28, 2011 @03:37PM (#35036546)

          On Okinawa, the Marines attacking Sugar Loaf Hill were under the threat of surprise attack 24/7. The stress and lack of rest took a toll, and after a week or so the troops were mentally and physically in very bad shape. One squad was cautiously advancing in daylight when two or three Japanese came running and screaming out of hiding. One was arming a grenade - which were activated by striking it against a hard surface. The Japanese were trained to hit them against their helmets. But the grenades had a high rate of failure, and this one went off in the soldier's hand, blowing off his head. His corpse continued on a step or two and then sank twitching to the ground. The Marines, who under normal circumstances would have been horrified by this sight, thought it the funniest thing they had ever seen and were helpless with laughter for quite some time. Luckily the attack on them was not followed up for a while.

        • Its a little sad that you would view someones death by suicide bombing-- even the bomber's-- as funny.

          Seriously? You're bothered over people making jokes about someone that was killed before they could murder? On behalf of victims everywhere, FUCK YOU.

          Of course during a war / struggle / conflict it is common to demonize the "enemy" inorder to make it easier to hate them, but you tend to lose some of your humanity in the process.

          Someone trying to kill you is not your enemy? Easier to hate them? This person lost their humanity when they wanted they wanted to murder a bunch of people celebrating new years.

  • Thankfully many of the bomb makers for such groups don't think through the failure modes very thoroughly.

    • by fredmosby (545378) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:03PM (#35033118)
      Either that or they care so little about the suicide bombers that they didn't bother doing the extra work to prevent this.
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Thankfully many of the bomb makers for such groups don't think through the failure modes very thoroughly.

      Those Terrorism Safety courses are kinda boring. Too much theory and not enough hands-on (or should I say, "hands-off").

      • by eth1 (94901)

        Thankfully many of the bomb makers for such groups don't think through the failure modes very thoroughly.

        Those Terrorism Safety courses are kinda boring. Too much theory and not enough hands-on (or should I say, "hands-off").

        Suicide bomber isntructor: "Now pay attention! I'm only going to show you this once."

  • Interesting. I wonder if this delivery method will cause countermeasures to be used to prevent attacks?

    Perhaps governments may look at shutting off text messages in a given area, or from a given set of towers, if they perceive a threat to the area.
  • LOLZ!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:00PM (#35033058)

    I can see the spam now:
    "B10w ur load urly?" Buy M3dic4l V1a6ra!!!

  • by TheReij (1641099) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:01PM (#35033064)
    Who would have ever thought that Spam would save a life?
  • and in the usa you pay up to $0.25 per text for incoming and you only choice is to block all texts or pay for a plan to get out of it.

    • by CTalkobt (81900)
      AFAIK, It's pretty much always been free to block SMS. I've done it on all cell plans I've had (various carriers over the past 10-12 years). They don't like to advertise / push it - but if you ask how they'll certainly tell you and it's not complicated.

      After all, you should be in charge of your bill - not somebody spamming you w/ SMS texts.

      My wife and I use google talk to get around lack of SMS, which ironically probably costs the telco more but costs us less.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:02PM (#35033096)

    At least now they can't say that spam never killed anyone.

    • by McNihil (612243)

      actually we can all say now that spam saves lives! .... and there goes the neighborhood.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:04PM (#35033140)

    "You've Got Fail"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:06PM (#35033166)

    In Soviet Russia, spam blocks you.

  • All it would take is a day's prep, an extra chip and 10 minutes of work to make it only blow up if, say, the message contains 5 a's. Tie the text out to something to check for the right 1's and 0's. This was shoddy workmanship.
  • Sure, everyone laughed the first time around. Not so funny now [geeksaresexy.net], eh?

  • by Falsify (1971140) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:08PM (#35033198)
    No pun intended ;)
  • by rickb928 (945187) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:09PM (#35033224) Homepage Journal

    Great. Now spam is an anti-terrorism tool. Is there no escape?

  • ..."Those Endearing Young Charms" [youtube.com]
    .
    .
    (testing - this should be in italics)
  • by jaymz2k4 (790806) <jaymz@NospaM.jaymz.eu> on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:15PM (#35033318) Homepage
    It seems rather dangerous to have it set off with any incoming SMS. You'd think they could've invested in the time to hook it to at least only respond to a particular number.
    • by martas (1439879) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:55PM (#35034018)
      It's probably a very crude device, where they attach the speaker/vibrator wires directly to a detonator... Anything more sophisticated/selective would probably require more expensive equipment. I'm sure cost is of at least some concern to them.
      • It's probably a very crude device, where they attach the speaker/vibrator wires directly to a detonator.

        Exactly, that's all it is.

        Anything more sophisticated isn't a matter of cost so much as having anyone who knows how to do it. Triggering by a specific number involves actually writing code to be run on the phone, which would involve a lot more effort and couldn't be done by just anyone.

  • by alta (1263) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:17PM (#35033354) Homepage Journal

    Ok, this will only work a few times, and soon the terrorists would find other ways to detonate....

    Every now and then the phone company can randomly send a text message. Or, since the bomb is probably tied to the speaker, just send half a ring. just something small. And do it more often near holidays or major events where people gather (like, before the superbowl, send everyone a text message)

    No need to send to EVERYONE, just everyone in areas where people gather...

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      No need to send to EVERYONE, just everyone in areas where people gather.

      It's a bit late by that point, surely the idea is to trigger it before they get into an area where people gather...

  • February 2nd 2011
    Associated Press

    "Both houses of Congress passed a bill that requires all US Cell Phone companies to send one free text message every hour to all mobile phone user in the country." This controversial bill is aimed at stopping any attempted suicide bomber attacks. Opponents of the bill say...
  • by webbiedave (1631473) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:27PM (#35033532)
    Tastes fine, saves lives.
  • Seems to me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hAckz0r (989977) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:29PM (#35033544)
    It seems to me that this is finally a pretty good reason for having a feature enabled like call forwarding. Send the bloody message back to the handler instead.

    </humor>

    Quite frankly this has a darker story. The handler can't trust the person to push their own button, so the handler does it remotely without the persons consent. That would imply that a number of people have failed to do what they have been psychologically coerced to believe what their duty, when its not something they really wanted to do in the first place. Feelings of despair and insignificance are easily played upon by psychotic individuals.

    • Actually, it may have to do with the fact that many religions forbid suicide. Dying at another's hand can still get you into heaven. I know it sounds like a loophole, because it is. Loophole: defined as a small hole in a wall, used from discharging weapons. Look it up.
    • by Arccot (1115809)
      I took it as people trying to activate their own devices are more easily suspected and caught before detonation. In cases like this, even when the carrier is caught or incapacitated, a handler can detonate before evacuation or disarming can occur.
    • by kent_eh (543303)

      It seems to me that this is finally a pretty good reason for having a feature enabled like call forwarding. Send the bloody message back to the handler instead.

      </humor>

      Quite frankly this has a darker story. The handler can't trust the person to push their own button, so the handler does it remotely without the persons consent.

      Which means that calling them "suicide bombers" is even more of a misnomer than it already is.
      The person carrying the bomb was murdered, just like the entirely innocent people in their vicinity.
      Not saying the person walking around with a bomb in their backpack is innocent,just that they aren't necessarily committing suicide either

    • Here's a gedanken experiment:

      A terrorist can made a bomb with:
      an Arduino micro-controller,
      a 9 volt battery,
      a Wifi receiver and
      10 or pounds of C4 that is set to go off when the device receives the message " Go BOOM! ".
      The device gets snuck onto some unwitting person's luggage.

      Now, you see somebody is struggling with a heavy suitcase through a transport facility. (Say Liberty International Airport, or O'Hare, or Grand Central Station at 4:30 on a Friday.)

      Do you help him/her, or

    • by tibman (623933)

      In iraq, it was not uncommon for the VBIED (vehicle borne improvised explosive device) driver to be handcuffed to the steering wheel. This is very similar to your "The handler can't trust the person to push their own button".

      I don't have much experience with suicide vests but they are usually detonated by the wearer. This way they can go in with guns first and detonate when/if they become incapacitated by return fire. I'm also pretty sure that suicide bombers wear the vest for long periods beforehand. S

  • OMG (Score:5, Funny)

    by ed__ (23481) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:29PM (#35033554) Journal

    This story is hilarious! I'm gonna text it to all my terrorist friends right now!

  • Sad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:30PM (#35033566) Homepage

    Because 90% of women bombers are forced to do it. the scumbag Islamic terrorists either start killing their children, or threaten to kill their kids to make the woman do the deed. In fact a cellphone detonator means she could not be trusted to blow herself up so her Islamic torturer needed to have control of her death to make them happy.

    All you flag wavers saying "dumb bitch" are uninformed as to how Utterly Disgraceful and lack of Honor these Islamic Terrorists are.

    • In fact a cellphone detonator means she could not be trusted to blow herself

      Good insight, Mr. Lumpy. I'm breaking my no-comments-until-they-fix-the-css pledge because this deserves it.

    • Re:Sad... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:37PM (#35033704) Homepage Journal

      I don't think anyone should be surprised when a woman chooses to blow up herself and some strangers instead of her children. I do not, however, think anyone should give her a free pass because her children were in danger. None of us is qualified to judge who is more deserving of life because none of us is omniscient. Therefore the only responsible thing to do in this situation is choose death for you and yours.

      Or in short, choosing to become a suicide bomber instead of watching your family die is utterly disgraceful and lacks honor. You can condemn the act, however, without condeming the person (who is presumably aerosolized and heading off to meet the maker if there is such a thing.) That is, unless you have been in that position, it's a bit arrogant to be judging someone's decisions.

    • Re:Sad... (Score:5, Informative)

      by tobiah (308208) on Friday January 28, 2011 @01:54PM (#35034822)

      That is a completely unsupported statistic. Suicide bombers, especially female ones, are not easily profiled. The wikipedia article on it [wikipedia.org] links to a number articles and case studies where the opinion varies a great deal, but none suggest the women did it because her children were threatened.

      And it's no excuse even if they did.

    • by BitterOak (537666)

      Because 90% of women bombers are forced to do it. the scumbag Islamic terrorists either start killing their children, or threaten to kill their kids to make the woman do the deed. In fact a cellphone detonator means she could not be trusted to blow herself up so her Islamic torturer needed to have control of her death to make them happy.

      All you flag wavers saying "dumb bitch" are uninformed as to how Utterly Disgraceful and lack of Honor these Islamic Terrorists are.

      So, it is morally justifiable to kill a bunch of other people's kids if someone threatens to harm or kill your own. Sorry I don't buy it.

  • I think this about sums it up:

    http://nelsonhaha.com/ [nelsonhaha.com]

  • In Red Square (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jammer6502 (1430197) on Friday January 28, 2011 @01:41PM (#35034626)
    I was in Red Square on New Years Eve attending the festivities. There was no way the bomber could have made it in before midnight due to the massive police and military presence (to get in I went through 3 checkpoints where I lost my alcohol and bottled water). However, after midnight they dropped the security and a bomber could have made quite an impact at any of the several stages surrounding the downtown area that were still packed with people (the streets were closed off to cars so everyone was just walking around). This spam text was a lucky break for the Russians, things could have gone much worse.

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