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DVD Porn Viruses Ravage US Soldiers' Computers 489

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-the-humanity dept.
stevegee58 writes "Tom Ricks' Inbox in the Sunday Washington Post reported that bootleg DVDs purchased in Iraqi markets ('souks') are frequently infected with viruses. Iraqi soldiers were affected as well; electronic interaction between Iraqi and US soldiers frequently resulted in a corresponding exchange of viruses from these infected DVDs."
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DVD Porn Viruses Ravage US Soldiers' Computers

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  • by Thalagyrt (851883) on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:50AM (#23376692)
    Gets a whole new meaning now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      So remember, no sex if safe sex, but if you watch sex use Norton!
    • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:00AM (#23376812) Journal

      But seriously, what is the world coming to?

      Previously, at least soldiers could count on running around, meeting interesting people, shooting them and raping their women.
      Of course, often that also meant some kind of medical treatment afterwards, usually including some nasty shots of penicillin, but that was a small price to pay for the vast spread of one's genetic material.

      Nowadays, the only virus you can get as a soldier infects your computer while you jack off to porn?
      Really, they shouldn't have gone all the way to Iraq for that.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:13AM (#23376942)
        You wanna say the whole war in Iraq was just a lot of dick waving and mostly a masturbatory experience for a couple people?
      • by Binkleyz (175773) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:21AM (#23377040) Journal
        You know, I'm fairly certain (at least I hope so) that you're either joking or just being a troll (in which case, I'm falling directly into your trap), but as (maybe one of the few) people on this site that were also previously in the military, I'm just about as offended as humanly possible at your comment above.

        Not everyone that goes into the military is a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, and quite a few of us are above average in terms of intelligence. I spent 6 years in the Navy, and I (nor anyone I knew) didn't shoot, rape OR pillage anyone.

        On a site like this one, where people from the outside would presume everyone is a pasty and pimply 34 year old living in their parent's basement, I really would expect (just a little) a little more tolerance and less assumption from the people involved.
        • by zacronos (937891) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:33AM (#23377180)

          On a site like this one, where people from the outside would presume everyone is a pasty and pimply 34 year old living in their parent's basement, I really would expect (just a little) a little more tolerance and less assumption from the people involved.
          You must be new here!
        • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:36AM (#23377192) Journal

          You know, I'm fairly certain (at least I hope so) that you're either joking or just being a troll (in which case, I'm falling directly into your trap),

          FWIW, the part that offended you was mostly a joke.

          but as (maybe one of the few) people on this site that were also previously in the military, I'm just about as offended as humanly possible at your comment above.

          Now you just flatter me. I didn't even mention many things that would offend a much greater number of people, but which would not be funny in the least.

          Not everyone that goes into the military is a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, and quite a few of us are above average in terms of intelligence.

          I know quite a number of people of various IQ levels who've been to war. IQ and the ability to commit a war crime are not that related that I'd consider that comment as any kind of explanation.
          And their war was much closer to home than yours.

          I spent 6 years in the Navy, and I (nor anyone I knew) didn't shoot, rape OR pillage anyone.

          Yeah, I've heard quite a lot about seamen.

          Sorry, but you really walked into that one. ;)

          On a site like this one, where people from the outside would presume everyone is a pasty and pimply 34 year old living in their parent's basement, I really would expect (just a little) a little more tolerance and less assumption from the people involved.

          Don't take it all so seriously; beneath the irritating tone of my post there is some relatively sound biology.

        • Thank You (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dreamchaser (49529)
          Thank you for your service. The trolls here don't seem to understand that they probably wouldn't have the freedom to post offensive jokes were it not for you and your ilk.

          I'd also add that the average literacy rate in the armed forces is higher than the national average.
          • Re:Thank You (Score:4, Insightful)

            by plague3106 (71849) on Monday May 12, 2008 @10:31AM (#23377894)
            Huh? For almost three quarters of our countries existance, we didn't have a standing army in peace time. It was only out of fear we kept one around after WW2, and I'd venture a guess that if we didn't have a standarding army the past 60 years or so, we wouldn't BE in Iraq or Afganistan right now, and a good number of other countries may not hate us as much.

            As for the literacy rate, it stands to reason you need basic reading skills to be a solider and so they either won't let you in or make you learn to read. Might as well say Hooters employs more women waitresses than any other chain...
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by styrotech (136124)
            Geez, talk about overly sensitive US centric knee jerk reactions.

            If anyone objecting to it actually read the comment (and not embellish it with your own sensitivities) it was referring about war in general historical terms (ie the "Previously..." bit). And in that sense it was far more accurate than it was inaccurate.

            The only reference to Iraq and/or the current American military was in the contrasting "Nowadays..." bit that related to the story.

            Out of all western democracies, only the US seems to have this
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sleepy (4551)
          Chill for a moment. If you read his post again, it is _satire_ not trolling.
          Some people are ALWAYS offended when they don't recognize satire..

          -s
          38 and not living in parent's basement.
        • by phulegart (997083) on Monday May 12, 2008 @10:07AM (#23377554)
          Well, I'm not a pimply-faced anything. In fact, I work in the busiest computer repair shop near Camp Lejune (see Marine Boot Camp). I repair laptops (and desktops) all day long that belong to soldiers. I'm regularly cleaning Iraq out of the laptops, and I'm just talking dirt and grime. However, all of them... and I do mean all of them, come in infected with malware, spyware, and viruses. Not only your Smitfraud.C based infections (Smitfraud, virus heat, etc.) but porn dialers, porn redirects and browser hijacks... you name it.

          As far as tolerance is concerned, I'm glad that all these marines appear to know absolutely nothing about keeping their machines clean. It keeps me in a paycheck. However, I don't have much tolerance for people who insist that this might be an overblown story. As far as the Parent comment about rape and pillaging... our armed forces have changed radically since the Vietnam days. You can't necessarily blame the guy for his comment though. If what I'm cleaning off these machines is any indication... even if our armed forces aren't raping and pillaging, they sure are thinking of it. Where they are going on the web to screw up their machines like they are points to that conclusion.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by cHiphead (17854)
          You were not in the Army to take part in the traditional pillaging and raping fun, you were stuck in teh Navy and had to contend with vying for a bukakke session one of the 3 ladies onboard or cuddling with your fellow seamen.

          You Navy boys never catch a break.

          Sorry I couldn't resist. ;)

          Cheers.
    • by aplusjimages (939458) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:22AM (#23377046) Journal
      I think they call it STDVD.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrKaos (858439)
      Digital Venereal Disease.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Frosty Piss (770223)
      The solution is obvious: US Government Certified Porn. We must protect our troops. The San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce will go along with it...

      They should also develop a holographic seal of approval.

  • Rootkits (Score:5, Funny)

    by adpsimpson (956630) on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:50AM (#23376700)

    Are these the old Sony disks they're talking about?

  • by Hyppy (74366) on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:51AM (#23376706)
    From personal experience, believe me, Iraqi porn isn't worth it.
  • That doesn't sound like supporting the troops.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      Your child support payments support your kids (assuming they don't live with you), and your taxes support the troops (assuming they don't live with you).

      I support the troops. I'm getting a troop support rebate check this month, too!

      -mcgrew
  • Support Our troops (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brewstate (1018558) on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:53AM (#23376732)
    We need to send them virus free porn. Gentlemen time to dump your hard drives to DVD.
    • by neokushan (932374) on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:56AM (#23376760)
      This is going to take a while...
    • Because as we all know Internet is for porn [youtube.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      We need to send them virus free porn. Gentlemen time to dump your hard drives to DVD.
      Strange the above quote is modded +3 interesting instead of funny. Does that mean the /. community is seriously considering doing this?
      • by jtev (133871) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:18AM (#23377004) Journal
        It means that some in the slashdot community already have. It's not allowed to be talked about, but one of the comfort items most desired in theater is porn. They aren't supposed to have it, and they can't get it in the PX, so they get it in letters from home, in nice little optical shiny packages, or they download it from FTP sites set up by their families, that don't get on the blacklist. Those who aren't so lucky, purchase it in theater, which apparently is a less than stellar option.
        • by d3ac0n (715594) on Monday May 12, 2008 @10:22AM (#23377770)
          Sounds like someone in the Porn community that supports the troops could set up a very interesting charity.

          I can see it now: "Support the troops, send them quality American porn!"

          There could be shots of porn stars dressed like 1940's pinup stars in the ads for the charity.

          The name might be tough though... "Skin for the Soldiers", "Tits for the Troops"? I'm sure we could come up with something interesting.

          Anyone here have contacts at Vivid Entertainment? Let's get this baby rolling!

      • Why not? There's so much talk about how geeks don't support our troops, that we oppose the war in Iraq on principle, that we don't want to pull our weight. How much better, and geekier, could you show your support than by increasing our troops' computer security AND giving them enough wanking material to literally help them through the whole mess?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          How much better, and geekier, could you show your support than by increasing our troops' computer security AND giving them enough wanking material to literally help them through the whole mess?

          Supporting their presence overseas is not supporting our soldiers. You want to do something to support the troops? Lean on your "elected" representatives to bring them home from fighting an illegal war.

    • by Nimey (114278) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:11AM (#23376926) Homepage Journal
      Send them individual socks, too. Keeps things tidy.
    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:22AM (#23377044)
      After having been there a few times, I'll just point out that it is 100% illegal to have any kind of pr0n in country. No DVDs, no Playboys, no nothin, so don't mail it (I realize you made the above statement in jest, but someone reading it may think it's a good idea).

      That being said, I've seen more pr0n on classified servers than I've seen in the rest of my previous life. We had to remove about 3 or 4 TB off of one server so the map server could run properly. That and it was slowing down Call of Duty. Mind you, it wasn't all of it, just a couple of TB.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eck011219 (851729)
      You know, I don't know if you're joking or not, but I see no reason why this SHOULDN'T be the case. In the past, the government has provided soldiers with cigarettes, alcohol, and other "creature comforts" for morale purposes.

      I'm not suggesting they be given anything illegal or particularly depraved (by "conventional" standards, whatever that means), but how hard is it to provide a collection of confirmed virus-free pics and video?

      The only problems I see are that a) soldiers who prefer the company of their
  • Protection (Score:5, Funny)

    by jspenguin1 (883588) <jspenguin@gmail.com> on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:54AM (#23376734) Homepage
    The shift key: the condom of the Windows world.
    • Re:Protection (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:58AM (#23376796) Homepage Journal
      The problem I see is that Soldiers were using Windows-based PC's, WTF is going on? The NSA helped develop SELinux and these guys, in the most critical of the situations, are using the most insecure operating system in the world.

      Talk about National Security :-/
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by maxume (22995)
        It's a bit of a stretch to call this the most critical of situations.

        Also, I believe that PromiscuOS is somewhat less secure than Windows.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheNetAvenger (624455)
        The problem I see is that Soldiers were using Windows-based PC's,

        Well the training games don't run on SELinux, let alone all the other games they play.

        Besides, they buy own their own laptops, if the Bush Company has trouble getting them essentials or housing that doesn't electrify troops, do you really think they have the time or money to get them CDs with SELinux or help them install it? And then what? They boot in Windows 99% of the time because they game and use WebCams to see their kids, etc.

        So ya, thi
        • by jps25 (1286898) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:32AM (#23377158)

          What OS you run DOES NOT = LESS or MORE security at this point from an OS architectual standpoint unless you have an older OS without security inherently designed at the core level. (Like Win9x, OS/2, System 9 earlier)
          I really enjoyed how you were able to type four paragraphs, but were unable to type "equal".

          It's also marvelous how you emphasized every other word.
          "Cool it Shatner, we don't read in the same voice you speak." (maddox)

  • Solutions. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdotNO@SPAMexit0.us> on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:54AM (#23376744) Homepage

    Hardware: Don't allow DVD drives.

    Software 1: Ummm, Anti-virus software? Hello?

    Software 2: Run a VM when accessing DVDs.

    Best: Run a Linux distro.

    Ok, I'm sure that these aren't necessarily the best solutions (except the last one) but it's something.

    • by Bert64 (520050)
      Supply unix based machines for the soldiers to use, don't give them root, make sure media cannot be mounted with "exec" flags...
      Or just use standalone dvd players?
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:55AM (#23376746)
    "Iraqi soldiers are affected as well."

    Wow, a porn virus that can make the jump from DVD to human?
  • Good old days! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Monday May 12, 2008 @08:57AM (#23376782) Journal
    When I was in Thailand in 1974, htere were only three places to get cassettes: The Base Exchange (other brances called it the Post Exchange), there there were practically no tapes I wanted to hear, but there were blanks; a government-provided tape center with a library of high quality reel to reels with a good selection that you could copy to cassette; or the local market, where you could get poor-quality copies of damned ner anything.

    Tha bad part about the bootlegs from town was the fact that they were analog - the quality left much to be desired. Some had skips that came from the LPs they were recorded from.

    The good part about the bootlegs from town was the fact that they were analog - you weren't going to infect your cassette player with XCP or some other virus.

    -mcgrew
    • Re:Good old days! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:17AM (#23376990) Homepage
      I was overseas and bought a lot of bootlegs as well. But I was all digital....

      I've never had a bootleg DAT tape infect a DAT player.

      I've never had a virus filled CD infect a CD player.

      I've never had a Virus filled DVD infect my DVD player.

      The answer here is use a hardware player and not a computer. An incredibly simple and cheap solution.
  • With all of the other stuff they pile on recruits during boot wouldn't it be possible to teach them to practice safe hex?
  • If it is too good to be true, then it probably is. If this becomes a real problem over there for our troops you can bet that the military is going to start cracking down on the troops for copyright infringement or something like that to persuade them to not buy these bootlegs and risk the military's networks.
    • by Shoeler (180797) on Monday May 12, 2008 @10:04AM (#23377526)
      I have quite a few friends deployed. What you speak of does not happen. The military networks are locked down and virus-checked, etc.

      The problem is the soldiers have their personal laptops on unsecured wireless networks they pay for from local providers so they can do what they *WANT* to do, which is surf porn, play MMORPGS (WoW is hugely popular) and other games that allow them to interact with "normal" people from back home. As is usually the case, the pure security concept pushes people to their own solutions which creates huge security issues. You're talking about brave, courageous, amazingly talented strong young men and women who are amazingly stupid about technology. They use Windows because everyone uses it and the guy down the way can help them load their Iraqi porn.

      The only way to address this is to accept their habits (porn, games) and address it in a secure way.

      In this Army/Navy/AF/etc, that ain't gonna happen.

      Let's just say that I may be employed at (but not by) a US Government organization but I use my personal Mac and a personal wireless solution where neither the Mac nor the wireless ever touches their network, just so that I can do simple stuff like research current technology. Happens that some of this research tends to be on sites they consider "gaming" or "non business related" so they filter it. GFY, censors.
  • This must have been what they had in mind when the movie studios insisted on strict region coding on DVD's, they had our best interest in mind all along.
  • I smell bullshit. How would they be getting viruses just by inserting a DVD? Were they running the executable? And what does it mean by "my memory stick would be filthy with viruses every time I had to go and get documents from my counterpart or his section NCOs."

    This seems to be one almighty bad joke. I mean, watching porn... memory "stick" filthy with viruses?
  • Wowzers... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:06AM (#23376884)
    This sounds like a fairly big national security issue to me...

    Now, I do realize that these computers operate on separate networks, but traveling disks that are frequently infected presents an issue. Or, put another way, a tempting target for foreign intelligence.

    And before you jump to the 'impossible' conclusion, consider this: What are those Iraqi officers trading with our soldiers by thumb drive? Is it ALL unsec material? NONE of it is of ANY operational importance? Really? Really, really?

    That strains disbelief...

    And consider this: If the portable drives were intentionally infected by a custom virus designed by, oh say, a super power, would the sec networks have a chance to detect it?

    My network would not. I'm certain of that. And I'm also fairly certain that I have far less BillyWare than they do in their deployment.
  • Playboy.com? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:12AM (#23376938)
    I was stationed in Kuwait in '06-07. We were warned about buying DVDs in Iraq (I would cross the border a couple of times a month) because of viruses. The one specific story i was told was the compromised PCs became part of a botnet which attacked various Israeli internet sites and Playboy.com. I dont know why the skinnies had a mad-on for Hef, i guess they just hate our freedom ;).
  • by Anarchofascist (4820) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:15AM (#23376982) Homepage Journal
    ..and you won't get infected. This has been a health and safety message from your friendly neighborhood anarchist.
  • by Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:22AM (#23377048)
    • +10 points for clever attack vector.
    • +10 points for using a vector which is deeply embarrassing to the target.
    • +10 points for SELLING a virus to the target.
  • Queue the (Score:3, Funny)

    by Fnord666 (889225) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:24AM (#23377076) Journal
    Queue the camel jokes in 3...2...1..
  • Misleading title (Score:5, Informative)

    by greyhueofdoubt (1159527) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:27AM (#23377106) Homepage Journal
    I have spent a good deal of time at these markets, and I can testify that I saw no porn. Ever. I never saw porn, alcohol, or drugs at these markets. Maybe these porn DVDs were passed around sub rosa or something.

    Here is what you CAN find in the markets (even on base): Fake cigarettes, fake cigars, fake Rolexes, fake Nikes, fake anything. Imitation Apple products- headphones, iPod cases, even fake iPods. No fake zunes, though...
    In an area about the size of a high school gymnasium, about 80% of the space was filled with bootleg DVDs and software. I don't mean bootleg like the MPAA wants you think bootleg; I mean actual printed DVDs out of japan or taiwan. Some were really crappy theater-cams but many were very good copies of promos and the like. I watch 300, letters from Iwo Jima, Black Snake Moan, and many others before or very shortly after theater release. It was awesome :)

    I also got all ten (at the time) seasons of south park on 4 DVDs for $25. Sweet.

    So, here we have this article that, while it may be true, seems to completely miss the point. It's like saying that, "Magazines such as hustler are causing massive deforestation and are filling our landfills." It is just trying to sensationalize the situation. Which is weird, since there are so many other, BIGGER things out there to write about. Try this, RIAA: The base media server, loaded with ~180 GB of music, is free to anyone who wants to download from it. You can get 180 GB hdds at the BX. Oh and there is the movie server, loaded with hundreds of titles. All free for the taking. And this author chose to write about porn? Whatever. Iraq is the wild, wild middle east. Everything goes.

    -b
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ozbird (127571)
      Try this, RIAA ...

      "Go ahead - make my day."

      The RIAA/MPAA are your classic bully, targeting the weak and vunerable: single mothers, children, grandmothers, homeless people - even dead people. I imagine that taking on any armed force (including pirates, arr!), is on their list right after "hell freezes over".
  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:29AM (#23377128) Journal
    "You don't win a war by jacking off for your country. You win a war by making the other bastard jack off for ~his~ country!"
  • by wobbelyheadbob (886026) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:30AM (#23377146) Journal
    I thought supporting piracy was supporting terrorism, so if U.S. troops are buying pirate dvd's (in Iraq of all places) doen't that mean U.S. troops are supporting terrorism??
  • by bughunter (10093) <bughunter@@@earthlink...net> on Monday May 12, 2008 @10:18AM (#23377720) Journal
    We build UAV systems for the US military. Widely used ones. Lately one of the branch's weapons labs has been coming to us and saying "we need a ground system that will operate any UAV or UGV. Why don't you use a computer?"

    So the R&D chief goes on a rant (to me, in private): "We've tried sending PCs into deployment, and they come back filthy with 'family videos' and viruses. We try sealing up and enclosing the USB/FW ports and DVD slots, and they come back pried open. No computers."

    Customer (to me, during requirements review): "The soldiers get issued WinXP notebooks anyhow. Utilize them."

    So I was handed the task of managing the resolution to this showdown. My first thought was, "Porn is not my problem." Second thought, "Hell, give them some clean porn ferchrissakes." Third thought, "oh crap -- we can't certify our product if it is a) in the decision making loop for a certain class of UAV, and b) can run any old crapware, including family videos."

    So it's not just a porn problem, but a problem with the inadequacy of the Windows OS itself. I know that this is potential flamebait moderation material, but it's a major thorn in our side: it's not a realtime OS, and even the embedded version of XP isn' real time. And it's susceptibility to viruses and hackers really makes it unsuitable for much more than family photos, letters to Jane, and facebook.

    Solution: Give them what they want, on their dime, while spending R&D money to prototype what they need. (Sorry - can't describe it.) Then when the inadequacies become painfully apparent, offer them the alternative, ready for development testing.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:00PM (#23379164) Homepage
    A lost cause, I suppose, but it seems to me that the root cause of this is a series of insanely bad decisions made by the industry as a whole and by Microsoft in particular, in blurring the line between data and programs in viewable media.

    There is no good reason why an email program should willy-nilly try to execute any attachment it sees, and no good reason why a computer should execute stuff on a DVD.

    99.99% of the time, the end-user thinks of a .jpg or a DVD as passively viewed content.

    An unholy alliance between technical sweetness (oooh, generality), possibilities for commercial exploitation (this DVD could display ads with a "buy" button on them), and DRM, has created a terrible situation.

    The mischief comes in when there are so many parties that have an interest in creating media that are not what they appear to be to the end-user.

    When the end-user thinks he's just watching something, the system should enforce the will of the user... not the will of the media provider. If the media does what the vendor wants and not what the user wants, that's a bad capability in itself--but it also is a gaping whole for malware which can subvert that capability to purposes neither user nor vendor want.
  • by Fuzzums (250400) on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:47PM (#23379824) Homepage
    We could have known that porn would be a key weapon in cyber warfare ;)
  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Monday May 12, 2008 @04:57PM (#23383794) Journal
    Folks,

    It appears clear to me what we must do. I believe it would be difficult to find a group of people with a larger aggregate porn collection, or larger distributed array of DVD burners, than we who read slashdot. So let's get busy archiving our porn onto DVDs and send them such a vast quantity of smut, no poor GI will have to resort to the virus-infected local stuff over there.

    Remember, you don't necessarily need to be an American partiot, you just need to be kinda pervy.

I'm all for computer dating, but I wouldn't want one to marry my sister.

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