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Linux Forcibly Installed On Congressman's Computer In Act of Terrorism 343

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the rms-detained-on-hooliganism-charges dept.
fermion writes with news of Windows computers being forcefully liberated: "The campaign headquarters of Michael Grimm, a U.S. House of Representatives member from New York, were vandalized. What has not been reported everywhere is that Linux was installed on one of his computers, erasing data in the process. Is this a new attack on democracy by the open source radicals, or it is just a random occurrence?" From the article: "'In fact, one officer said to me today they see this as a crime against the government, because I am a sitting United States congressman and they take it very seriously. You know, especially in light of what happened with Gabby Giffords, we're not in the world today where we can shrug things off,' Grimm said. ... [GNU/]Linux, an open-source operating system, was installed on Grimm's computers, erasing the hard drive contents, which included polling and voter identification data. But staff had backed up the hard drive contents hours beforehand. Grimm and his staffers said the vandalism — cement blocks were thrown through the office's windows — is a cover-up for the attacks on the computers."
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Linux Forcibly Installed On Congressman's Computer In Act of Terrorism

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  • by Mkaks (2738943) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:22AM (#41462421)
    I see this as a radical open source movement. Some people hated to see that government was using Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X on their computers and decided to take the matter in to their own hands. Linux was forcibly installed on the computers and the suspect was caught seen masturbating in a dark corner as the progress meter went further and further.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:26AM (#41462473)

    Elsewhere it was revealed that it was a young kid who threw the rocks, and a staffer "accidentally" wiped the computers with a Linux disk.

    I say accidentally because he was being investigated for illegal use of campaign funds, and some of the data that may have been of interest to the investigation was lost. And it's not exactly trivial to accidentally wipe your disks with a Linux disk. I can see someone doing it, but you do have to go through enough steps that you have to have been trying to do *something* with that disk even if it wasn't wiping the system.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:36AM (#41462569)

      To follow up, here's the link: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/09/rep_michael_gri_1.php

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @09:49AM (#41463363)

        Your link doesn't mention anything about illegal funds, I was going to call you out for trying to mislead but then I Google'd it:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/michael-grimm_n_1853232.html

        Wow, pretty murkey Eric Cantor (Republican head of the House!) in there too receiving the monies, so you can bet this one will be buried quick.

    • by realxmp (518717) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:37AM (#41462577)

      Elsewhere it was revealed that it was a young kid who threw the rocks, and a staffer "accidentally" wiped the computers with a Linux disk.

      I say accidentally because he was being investigated for illegal use of campaign funds, and some of the data that may have been of interest to the investigation was lost. And it's not exactly trivial to accidentally wipe your disks with a Linux disk. I can see someone doing it, but you do have to go through enough steps that you have to have been trying to do *something* with that disk even if it wasn't wiping the system.

      Yep, New York Daily New has the story here [nydailynews.com]. Apparently like the data wasn't deleted and whoever they had to do their IT didn't know enough about Linux and partitions to realise.

      • by FoolishOwl (1698506) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @09:03AM (#41462855) Journal

        Because 'dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda' is just so fucking difficult. Maybe it would have worked better to have the staffer throw rocks, and a young kid wipe the hard disk.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          or they could be like Hollywood trying to throw rocks to break the LCD to destroy the data...

        • by timeOday (582209)
          The blurb says the computer was being regularly backed up anyways.
        • by gman003 (1693318)

          /dev/zero? I'd use /dev/urandom. Mainly in the hopes that some poor fool doing forensics tries to "decrypt" the data and wastes months trying to find a signal in pseudorandom noise.

          • by kimvette (919543)

            Have you ever read legislation? It isn't just theoretically possible, but downright likely that copying /dev/random will result in an exact duplicate of the original data being written. /dev/zero would be just overwriting the drives with a document exhaustively describing the integrity of >99% of politicians.

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @09:09AM (#41462899)
        You just can't hire competent criminal IT staff these days.
      • by gravyface (592485)
        Maybe they left the live CD in the CD tray.
      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @10:00AM (#41463519) Homepage

        Bingo. An ex-employer of mine suffered a "break in" where the only things stolen were some executive laptops - which had conveniently been left out on their desks - and some of the papers in the safe - which the burglars apparently managed to guess the combination to.

        This was after they'd stopped paying all the staff, but just before administrators were called in to go through the accounts and contracts. Say, can you guess what information went missing in the "break in"?

        The staff just sighed and asked which side of the window the broken glass was on. It was that kind of a place.

      • Elsewhere it was revealed that it was a young kid who threw the rocks, and a staffer "accidentally" wiped the computers with a Linux disk.

        I say accidentally because he was being investigated for illegal use of campaign funds, and some of the data that may have been of interest to the investigation was lost. And it's not exactly trivial to accidentally wipe your disks with a Linux disk. I can see someone doing it, but you do have to go through enough steps that you have to have been trying to do *something* with that disk even if it wasn't wiping the system.

        Yep, New York Daily New has the story here [nydailynews.com]. Apparently like the data wasn't deleted and whoever they had to do their IT didn't know enough about Linux and partitions to realise.

        The young kid is still a terrorist. Good thing the police are treating it as "a crime against the government", since we're not in a world where a kid throwing rocks can be "shrugged off". No, indeed, we cannot ever ignore such violent acts of treason. And Linux? LINUX??? The white-text-on-black-screen OS of any true terrorist? I mean anyone who ever dumps out of the window system needs to be investigated thoroughly, let alone someone who does it to A GOVERNMENT COMPUTER?!

        The IT guy was obviously work

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:40AM (#41462611)

      I'd also like to note that the only place the word "terrorism" appears is in the headline of the slashdot summary. The word is not used at all in either the summary nor in the linked article.

      captcha: distorts

    • by Zemplar (764598)
      He was trying to get to the GUI on DBAN. [dban.org]
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      So in other words, as accidentally as Rose Mary Woods erased 18.5 minutes of the Nixon tapes. Got it.

    • It seems to me, that that the vandals, were probably just using Boot and Nuke as a quick and easy way to clear out a drive, to an unrecoverable state.

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      They didn't install X11, or KDE, or any other DE. Just the CLI and Emacs, and that's all the Congressman was left to work w/. He was probably targeted by FSF activists for being a part of an Open Source cabal, and not using GPL software, but instead, using either a Mac or FBSD.
    • by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @11:20AM (#41464561)

      Here's the real story:
      http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/09/rep_michael_gri_1.php [villagevoice.com]

      Rep. Michael Grimm's Office Break-In Not Quite Watergate; Just an 8th Grader Who Broke a Window
      By James King Tue., Sep. 25 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Congressman Michael Grimm's Staten Island campaign office was "broken into" over the weekend in what the congressman initially suspected to be a Watergate-esque scandal presumably perpetrated by the cronies of his opponent in this year's election.

      Not quite -- it was just an eighth-grader who broke a window.

      The NYPD says today that an eighth-grader at a Staten Island junior high school told a school counselor that he and a friend broke the window. The boy, who has not been identified, has been charged with criminal mischief.

        Grimm initially claimed thieves broke in using old keys and then smashed windows to make it appear like it was a just a case of random vandalism -- which it was. He suspected that the burglars installed software on the hard drives of computers in the office designed to delete files.

      Nope -- a "police source" tells the New York Daily News that it "appears that a campaign staffer wiped the hard drives accidentally after mistakenly inserting a Linux system disc into a Windows machine."

      They have hats for people like Grimm -- they're made of tinfoil.
      ====================

      So, no one "broke in" and it was a staffer who accidentally (?) installed Luinux.

      Another linkbait bullshit slashdot "story".

  • Inside job! (Score:3, Funny)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:27AM (#41462479)
    It was an inside job by Government's agents. They are trying to get Linux install media on the list of illicit substances. ("Citizen, you have a Debian media set in your handbag! That was used in the most recent attack on a Congressman's privacy! You're under arrest!")
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:32AM (#41462517)

    because I am a sitting United States congressman

    Does anyone else get an air of elitism when people say things like this? "I work for the government, I'm better than you, and these things should only happen to you plebs." I feel that as long as our politicians think like this, we're doomed as a democracy.

  • by oobayly (1056050) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:37AM (#41462579)

    In light of a the attempted assassination of a congresswoman, throwing a lump of concrete through a window and flattening a computer definitely should be the highest priority for the police.

  • I had to check the ol' calendar to ensure that I didn't sleep till April 1.

    What kind of hooey is this?

    Who would want to break and enter to install linux? Really?

    Let me put it to you this way Mr Congressman: They did you a freaking favor, thank them and move on.

    • Who would want to break and enter to install linux? Really?

      Maybe Linux advocates are following the example of animal rights activists who throw paint on fur coats.

  • OMFGWHAT?

    I'm sure getting his computer attacked was just as bad as getting shot in the freaking head.

    • by gaelfx (1111115)

      Exactly my sentiment. This guys computer gets wiped and he compares his situation to a senator being shot in the head. To (almost) quote Lewis Black:

      It is my firm belief that if you are [a senator], you absolutely have to know where you are in the time-space continuum

  • by gentryx (759438) * on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:40AM (#41462609) Homepage Journal
    Was he satisfied with his new Linux desktop? And did they install KDE or Gnome?
  • by erikwestlund (1003368) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:41AM (#41462621) Homepage

    Tin Hat Linux by the looks of it.

  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2&gdargaud,net> on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:46AM (#41462673) Homepage
    ...does that mean that you can install Linux in the time it takes for a cement block to go through a Windows(tm) ? Guerrilla advertisement is getting worse and worse.
  • After reading all the links.... Can we get a bit more sensationalist?

    Slashdot - The Fox news of the tech world... no wonder Taco left.

  • by Firemouth (1360899) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:48AM (#41462691)
    I'd say this was consensual install. Had it been legitimate non-consensual install, the computer has a way to prevent itself being impregnated with an open source operating system if the install was not consensual.
  • by ignavus (213578) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:49AM (#41462693)

    If anyone accesses your PC without permission and destroys your data, that is a problem.

    If they do it by installing some other OS, that is just the same problem. You weren't going to keep your compromised OS, were you?

    If the other OS is Linux, that is no different to putting (say) MacOSX or BSD or MS-DOS even on the PC.

    Heck, doing a clean install of an older version of WIndows would be just as bad.

    Your data is gone. That is the news.

  • Terrorism by installing Linux? The act of erasing data was the destruction but being there was a backup nothing was lost, still calling out Linux being installed as terrorism is just insane. Besides everyone knows that Osama hated Ubuntu.
  • just wait for the clueless Congress to ban linux and with that take down a big part of the web running linux servers.

  • by argStyopa (232550)

    I like how he egregiously throws Gabrielle Giffords into the conversation, as if terroristic acts of violence against authority/government figures weren't part of the frikkin' job. (If I was a clever /. poster I'd do the neat thing where each word of "part of the frikkin' job" would be a link to a separate story of political assassination from Abraham Lincoln, to Sissi of Austria, to President McKinley, to Archduke Ferdinand...)

    I'm not saying what happened to her wasn't tragic; I'm saying it's PART of the p

  • This is a non-story. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @09:14AM (#41462949)
    This congressman is currently under investigation for misappropriation of funds. Here's a much more convincing story:

    1. Congressman misappropriates campaign funds
    2. Congressman comes under investigation
    3. Congressman slips IT guy $50 to ransack the office at night and make some key financial data "disappear"
    4. Congressman acts shocked and appalled, decries this act of "terrorism" and labels himself as a helpless victim.
    5. Media gobbles it up because it contains the word "terrorism"
    6. ...
    7. Profit! (from misappropriating campaign funds)
  • so... someone broke into his office just to install Linux on one of the laptops. And they've connected this to "thefts of lawn signs" and "recent mysterious computer shutdown in the middle of the night." ..Riiiiight... I can't figure out what they are trying to cover up here, but this has got to be one of the most outlandish excuses I've ever heard.

  • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @09:39AM (#41463239) Homepage

    Or, at least, an offer to come back with the source code at any point in the next three years?

  • by TarPitt (217247) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @09:48AM (#41463349)

    They left distinctive footprints walking across the yard in front of the office:

    Actual Forensic Photo From Evidence File [nationalge...cstock.com]

    Don't see shoes like that every day in New York

  • I seem to recall at least one distro that would automatically install via a booted CD.

  • Threw an object threw the window of a candidates campaign headquarters?

    I predict the following:
    * that the vandal(s) will not be found, even with security cameras working.
    * this candidate is losing in the polls.
    * that the people that “forcefully” put Linux on a computer never heard the word, “no” uttered by the computer, thus imping it was “consensual.”
  • A computer has no will, and thus cannot 'forcibly' have anything done to it, except in the sense that *everything* is done by force, as a computer has no self volition to do anything.

    I don't see that word in the article. Has this headline been editorialized?

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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