Crack-a-Mac Challenge broken, then reinstated
Joakim Jardenberg <joakim at infinit dot se> opened a challenge to all the world's hackers called "Crack-a-Mac, the Next Generation"  on July 4. (A previous Crack-a-Mac challenge had gone unbroken .) On Sunday 8/17 he declared: "The challenge is off due to what looks like a perfectly successful crack" by an Australian hacker called Starfire <Starfire at bellair dot net>. Jardenberg is not releasing details of the crack, which do not affect either the MacOS or the WebSTAR server, because no fix is available. Apple's Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui at plaidworks dot com>, who knows details of the attack, called it "subtle, non-obvious, and a real gem." Jardenberg and Von Rospach said that the crack is dependent on site configuration and would affect comparitively few sites. Jardenberg writes on the challenge's top page, "Puhhh, what a lousy way to wake up..." Here is his email.
Bad news. Around 07.30 (GMT+0200) this sunday morning the
Crack a Mac challenge was cracked. At this time we can not
reveal the method that was used, as there is no fix for the
We will return with more public info as soon as there is a
Worried Mac webmasters with a setup that is similar to the one
used at the Crack a Mac server can send a private mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org with brief information about their setup and
if they are in the "danger-zone" they will receive a mail with
an outline of the problem.
Hope you understand that it is for everyone's safety that we
are careful about this info...
The Cracker is a wise and friendly guy from Australia, who
really deserves the 100.000 kronor.
The cracked page is available from the server:
This has been quite a challenge.
But then what would you expect from a Mac. The OS is Rock Solid
and enthroned on a pretty funky system.
I will hopefully own one very soon....
Once the appropriate considerations have been addressed by the
administrators of this site, I hope they will continue the quest.
They have every reason to be confident...
Perhaps APPLE will take the hint and support people like Joakim.
He and his current sponsors richly deserve a pat on the back.
Few people have the guts to pull it off...
ps: You know I can't answer the obvious, so please, don't ask.
Day 0: The scene
Day 1: The games begin
Day 2: Are you in possession of Digital Identity Hash?
Day 3: Ssh. People are watching the network!
Day 4: Them vs. us -- or, strange bedfellows
Day 5: (not yet)
The ten leading companies in software revenue last year were
(in descending order): IBM, Microsoft, Hitachi, Computer
Associates, Oracle, Fujitsu, SAP, Bull HN Information Systems,
Digital Equipment Corporation, and Novell. And of the top
thirty companies, 37% are in California, 13% in Massachusetts,
10% in Pennsylvania, 7% in New York, and 33% in other states,
provinces, and countries. (Investor's Business Daily 13 Aug 97)
Scientific American reports  that a Japanese researcher of almost legendary stature among his peers, Shuji Nakamura of Nichia Chemical Industries, has demonstrated a gallium nitride laser that produced light for over 100 hours. (Rather a showman, Nakamura used one of his blue lasers as a pointing device at a scientific conference.) Nakamura hopes to achieve a commercial-grade laser capable of 100,000 hours of operation by 1998.
Companies oft-overheard in the Cupertino area include Apple,
Tandem, HP, Microsoft, and Symantec. Chip-level hardware in-
formation (e.g., Intel, NatSemi, Cirrus, etc.) can often be
overheard at the McDonald's on Lawrence Expressway or the
Carl's Jr. on Bowers, both in Santa Clara. Very occasion-
ally, interesting corporate level tidbits can be overheard in
the evening at Chef Chu's, in Los Altos.
P.S. -- For years, the McDonald's on Lawrence was hysterical
during lunchtime. Their french-fry timing computer had an
electronic beeping tone that sounded so much like a Motorola
pager that multiple people in line could be see grabbing at
their beepers every time a new batch of fries was ready.
They've long since changed out the french fry timing computer
for a new automated fry-robot which is comparatively silent.
What they lost in audio atmosphere they gained in geeky spec-
tatorship, as customers in line stare at the fry-bot, utterly
mesmerized by its movements. The interaction of people and
technology never ceases to fascinate me.
URLs contain similar cryptic sequences of letters to e-mail
adresses (.kwiknet.co.uk etc.) but are easy to tell apart. An
e-mail adress always has the @ symbol in the middle and no /
marks. A URL never has an @ and, apart possibly from the home
page, will be full of / marks. Indeed, a URL can sprawl over
several lines: the computer where the site resides may store
hundreds of thousands of files, and the / marks help it to
sort the files into groups.
On screen, a newsgroup looks like a catalog of titles. You
click on one which looks interesting to view the text of that
particular posting. Successive postings in reaction to each
other can result in a discussion straying somewhat from the
original topic. Titles such as "Re: Lewd acts with vegetables
(was: Recommendations please for best CD of Mahler's Fifth)"
I... am happy to tell you that we have had a considerable web presence for the last two years: www.bluffers.com or www.ovalbooks.com. You may also be interested to know that the titles are now available in the US through our US distributor Globe Pequot Press and therefore more readily available through amazon.com and on the internet retailers as well as Borders and select other stores. Individuals can order from Globe on 1-800-243-0495.
I knew Don Schlitz when he was still a struggling writer. He worked nights at the Vanderbilt University computer center, where I would visit him. He did some kind of work tending to the mainframes. The very last time I saw him was the day Kenny Rogers cut the Gambler. He had just come from the session and felt that Kenny had done a hell of a job. I have not been back to Nashville since 1979, and hence haven't run into him since.
Going to a technical conference or trade show that would interest TBTF readers? Email me before you leave if you're willing to write daily dispatches for this newsletter.
I dislike spam as much as you do, and I don't want to make it easy for the spammers' address-hoovering tools to collect victims' contact information from the TBTF home and archive. (Note that no reader has complained about this to date.) On the other hand, I want to make it possible for members of the TBTF community privately to contact people mentioned in the articles, should they want to. For these reasons I've started a new convention on the Web site when referencing the email addresses of correspondents, informants, or participants in the stories that appear in this newsletter: I add plausible obfuscation to each such address, except for my own. (This doesn't apply to the retro-push edition.) It works like this:
Email address as it appears in TBTF: <doyle at cs dot und dot edu>
Actual email address: <email@example.com>
Thanks to Tad Staley <tstaley at msn dot com> for this suggestion, and more generally for pointing out the very existence of "the TBTF community." Hmm. Consequences will flow from this insight.
Edupage -- mail firstname.lastname@example.org without subject and with message: subscribe edupage Your Name . Web home at http://www.educom.edu/ .
TBTF home and archive at http://www.tbtf.com/ . To subscribe send the message "subscribe" to email@example.com. TBTF is Copyright 1994-1997 by Keith Dawson, <dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com>. Com- mercial use prohibited. For non-commercial purposes please forward, post, and link as you see fit. _______________________________________________ Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.