Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year,s Eve News: Unix And Linux Users Beware

Hey there,

As part of a non-existent tradition, composed of this year's "New Year's Eve post" (being written as I type ;) and last year's zany and over-the-top network port querying script post, we're going to make this year's EOY post short, to the point, hopefully fun and somewhat worthwhile, so you can leave work early without getting it ok'ed and begin making bad decisions as soon as possible ;)

In all seriousness, if you go out tonight, have one (or maybe three or four ;) on me, but try to stay safe. According to a recent study by law enforcement and the National Association of Situations You'll Regret Later (NASYRL), lots of people get into, sometimes fatal, accidents and/or end up in jail for driving under the influence during the holidays. Everyone here wishes you a safe, happy and fun New Year's Eve and highly encourage you to partake of your legal drug of choice in quantities that will make you question your prior state of mind tomorrow (we can't officially condone the other stuff, but would recommend - if we were in the business of minding yours ;)- that you do whatever you want to do in moderation. Although certain substances have a higher lethality-rate than others, excess is the enemy. Basic food and water will demonstrate this very well any day of the year ;).

And, if possible, if you must go home at the end of the night, please find someone sober to drive you. If you're that sober person, please do what you can to round up a few rummies that need a lift ;)

And here's a little cautionary tale from 3 years ago, ripped from today's headlines! (wait... no... that's this week's episode of Law & Order ;) This piece is actually from regarding the dangers of using a text web browser, especially during times of crisis and/or excess. Hopefully, it will scare the cr@P out of you and you'll begin doing what you're told. If not, and you either enjoy it, hate it or feel absolutely nothing for it, yet still refuse to walk the line, we salute you!

Have fun this New Year's Eve! Best wishes for your safety and maximum enjoyment from all of us :)


NOTE: We left in all the spelling mistakes from the original articles to maintain the integrity of the sources and, also, to simulate drunken journalism in keeping with the night's theme ;)

Solaris-user arrested by British Police for using Lynx

Lynx is a popular text-based browser user by Unix and Linux users. British Telecom, who are the web site administrator for a Tsunami aid site mistook a Lynx web browser user who donated money for a hacker because of the strange user agent the browser leaves in the logs and reported the user to the police.

The police, apparently equally incompetent, raided the private citizen who made the donation swat-style while he was having a quiet lunch.

BBC reported this as Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Computer Crime Unit have begun an inquiry after BT blocked the attempt on New Year's Eve. A 28-year-old man from east London was arrested and released on bail in connection with alleged offences. and this is a good example of how state media reports violent crimes against private citizens when done by the same stats police force.

The persons only crime was to use the non-standard Internet browser Lynx.

From a mailing list:

For donating to a Tsunami appeal using Lynx on Solaris 10. BT (British Telecom) who run the donation management system misread an access log and saw hmm thats a non standard browser not identifying it's type and it's doing strange things. Trace that IP. Arrest that hacker.

Armed police, a van, a police cell and national news later the police have gone in SWAT styley and arrested someone having their lunch.

Out on bail till next week and preparing to make a lot of very bad PR for BT and the Police....

So just goes to show if you use anything other than Firefox or IE and you rely on someone else to interogate access logs or IDS logs you too could be sitting in a paper suit in a cell :(

What is Lynx?

Lynx, Links, Dillo and other rare browsers are used by thousands browsers are used by thousands of Linux and Unix users world wide, but they only make up a very small percentage of visits to mainstream entertainment sites. This may because many such sites frequently use javascript, flash and other garbage non-standard elements that make these sites impossible to render in standard-compliant browsers.

Average Entertainment Website, Browser market share Desember 2004

202932 visitsBrowser
53.54%Internet Explorer 6.0 (Windows)
27.10%Gecko 1.7.x (Mozilla/Firefox/Galeon/Epiphany/etc)
4.21%Internet Explorer 5.0
4.14%Safari (OSX)

The picture is very different for Linux related sites.

Linux Reviews, Browser market share Desember 2004

56360 visitsBrowser
36.63%Gecko 1.7.x (Mozilla/Firefox/Galeon/Epiphany/etc)
17.58%Internet Explorer 6.0 (Windows)
10.43%Internet Explorer 5.0

Lynx was not in the entertainment site numbers and had 0.53% share at Linux Reviews.

SourceForge, Slashdot, Freshmeat, Lxer and other sites like these have regular visitors who use rare browsers, but if you are using Lynx then you may want to stay clear of official UK government web sites and perhaps also other government web sites in general.

, Mike

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