Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Earth's Most Wanted Hacker

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(thunder crashing)

- [Narrator] A storm is brewing in South Dakota.

- [Radio] Sorry I didn't get that. Southwest 1772-

- [Narrator] And it's moving swiftly into Minnesota,

bringing with it rain, hail, thunder, and wind.

A mass exodus is taking place

from one social media website to another.

But there's still some survivors left behind,

album shares, party pictures.

This one doesn't look any different.

The user is sent to a webpage,

and it's disguised in a coat that makes it look normal,

but the last two letters reveal its true identity.

They're prompted to install a video player update.

(ominous music) (glass cracking)

This unsuspecting computer is now a zombie,

connected to a mesh of other half dead machines

spread all throughout the planet.

A botnet known simply as...

(loud whooshing)

- [Robot] You are watching "DisrupTV."

- [Announcer] Congratulations. You won!

Congratulations. You won!

Now, now, now, now

Now, now, now, now, yes

- [Narrator] An antivirus company announces a discovery.

(suspenseful music)

Typically URLs are hosted on a single web server

through a single internet protocol address.

If one is found to be malicious,

it's fairly easy to chop it down from the root

by blocking the IP.

But these URLs are utilizing a tactic known as fast flux.

In a fast flux network, the IP address of the domain name

is constantly switched out, making it near-impossible

to find the core of the infection.

Perfect for the first stage of self-propagation

over the dates.

In this time period,

we see variants appearing that are created

from the original MySpace exploit.

Targets Skype,

targets Twitter, (whistle)

makes its way onto the Macintosh ecosystem.

It spreads not only through social media messages,

but right under our noses.

An ordinary website.

You can download files from here.

Koobface covers the otherwise safe download button

with an HTML IFrame.

This sends a PDF file to the user

that when opened, scans the computer.

It's searching for a file transfer protocol.

If found, it will send out a message to the other bots,

who will subsequently use the exploited

username and password to make a new home within its victim.

With each newly infected host,

the botnet grows larger,

creating a decentralized untraceable network

that turns left, turns right, goes up, and goes down

on the whim of whoever has the steering wheel.

- [Ron] (indistinct) with how to protect your computer.


- [Dave] Yeah Ron, it's really scary

how easily it can infect your computer.

In fact, we had a computer expert show us...

(train rattling)

(lively music) (indistinct broadcast)

- [Narrator] It's 1997

and the most popular website in the world is...

- [Man] Yahoo!

- [Narrator] More than 17 million people use the site

every month to explore a new frontier known as the internet.

But at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 8th,

Yahoo is hijacked.

(upbeat music)

Confronts anyone who opens the browser.

The message reveals that the computer of every single person

who's visited Yahoo in the past month

has been infected with a worm.

And on Christmas day, in less than three weeks,

the bomb will detonate and destroy millions

of contaminated computer systems.

That is, unless the hijacker's one demand is met.

Anger erupts, and over the following days,

protests break out on the streets across the United States.

They set up camp outside federal courthouses

and from New York to California

people call in to radio stations to cry out the phrase,

in real life and in video games.

- [Radio Host] Do you have anything else to say?

- [Radio Caller] Yes, free Kevin!

- [Radio Host] Oh!

- [Narrator] It's now just one week until Christmas.

And most are asking...

(dramatic music)

He hoists himself up

and looks through the bars on his windows.

But Kevin isn't a terrorist.

He isn't a mafia boss and he's not here

because he wiretapped the NSA or blackmailed FBI agents.

Authorities say he poses an even greater danger

because with a single phone call, they say,

he can dial into the NORAD and access

the nuclear arsenal of the United States of America.

- [JFK] The advent of nuclear weapons

changed the course of the world.

- [Narrator] Kevin might only be an innocent prankster

or Kevin could be the world's most dangerous

cyber terrorist,

a man who has North America at his fingertips.

To free or not to free,

that is the question.

(jaunty tones)

This is a Windows registry key.

And this is that same windows registry key

modified by Koobface.

When a computer wants to connect to a website,

it goes through a domain management system or DNS.

This is typically provided by an internet service provider.

A VPN circumvents this by building its own bridge

that handles the traffic toward

whatever website the user types in.

Koobface is doing something similar,

but instead of directing traffic to the website

in its true form, it repaints road signs,

changes GPS directions,

and guides the user to wherever it pleases.

(upbeat techno music)

YouTube, Wikipedia, PayPal,

all resolved to IP addresses employed

by the command and control center.

This is how the Koob makes its money.

Right there.

When that user clicked the link,

Koobface instantly shot his browser

through a number of affiliate advertising networks.

Instead of the machine sending HTTP GET to Google

as it normally does, an infected machine

sends HTTP GET to Koobface,

who responds with a list of affiliated links.

It's only after receiving those links

that the machine correctly sends HTTP GET to Google,

who then returns with the legit results.

The first result corresponds to the first affiliate link

and when clicked, for just a brief moment, an advertisement.

After that process, the used affiliate link is scrubbed

and a new one takes its place.

These systems may offer two bucks per a thousand users

that click the affiliate link.

Multiply that by hundreds of thousands of infected bots

across the planet, clicking links all day,

and at this point, Koobface's command and control center

is passively pulling in $38,000 per week.

(orchestral music)

The victim may now notice that something feels off.

Their loading times are slower.

Toolbars keep appearing out of nowhere.

And just in time, a helping hand is offered.

Similar to the Google search, a response is sent

to Koob's command and control center.

It responds with a list of antivirus software downloads,

picks one, and displays it on the desktop.

After the user pays,

their PC remains infected and command and control

gets a paycheck.

We live in a world of bots.

But where do these soulless beings come from?

Alan Turing, a 20th century mathematician,

creates the Turing test.

In the experiment, a human has a text-based conversation

with a computer and another human.

If he can't tell who is the computer and who is the human

then the computer has passed the test.

Now we've flipped this.

Instead of us, with the human telling computers

apart from humans, computer needs to figure out who's you

and who's me and who is it's robotic kin.

- So you are a robot.

- No, my name is Cleverbot.

- Yes, you are a robot and your name is Cleverbot.

- I am a robot.

- Yes, I know. - Together we are robots.

- I'm not a robot. I'm a unicorn.

- [Narrator] In the beginning, Koobface uses a small portion

of manually created accounts to spread initially.

But now, as the infrastructure grows,

it needs a way to create thousands of fake accounts

to ensnarl thousands of more victims.

Completely Automated Public Turing-Test

to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

Normally CAPTCHA would be a brick wall

for an amateur bot program.

But Koobface has found a clever work around.

First it sends the following command to Facebook.

The login and password are encoded via an encrypted scheme

that involves reading the letters,

their corresponding AC values, and comparing that

to a successive string of numbers from zero to one

to two to three to four to-- (chiming tone)

Encrypted becomes un-encrypted.

New account information is sent to the social media site.

The social media site responds with another packet

containing a blank bio, birthday,

favorite books, activities.

Koob auto-fills this with randomly generated info

that feels just realistic enough.

Next the site will ask for CAPTCHA.

To circumvent this, the CAPTCHA puzzle is mirrored

to the desktop of any individual in its bot army.

Two things happen.

Their screen is unlocked

and the CAPTCHA for the new minion is complete.

Koobface deploys this scheme a number of times.

Millions of friend requests are sent across Facebook

and the army grows ever larger.

Cyber investigators uncover an irregularity.

The connection of interest is located on servers

hosted by Coreix in the UK.

The data flowing in and out of one of these servers

matches observed data by Koobface.

The command and control centers are wiped out

and the bots are left wandering without direction.

Hundreds of new command and control centers appear,

which ushers in Koobface's peak

with an estimated 600,000 infected machines.

The unraveling of Koobface is delivered

through the very same websites it previously exploited.

An Apache HTTP client is used to

control files to and from a web server.

For the most part, it can be functioned anonymously

unless a specific option is left untouched.

This option will drop breadcrumbs

that display to any visitor what type of files

are being transferred to and from the botnet on the daily.

(rat chewing)

This photo's metadata shows it was taken with an iPhone

on September 15th, 2009.

This is a daily backup of the Koobface

command and control software.

Inside, an IP stands out.

This is programmed to automatically send

a daily SMS update to five numbers.

Updates that show exactly how much profit

the network is pulling in.

The numbers are searched.

One is found, an online marketplace for vehicle sales,

license plate in full view.

Another market, selling sphynxes.

A name is registered on a number of websites.

The same BMW is found on Flickr.

Also the cat.

One of the found email addresses on a social media page

points to a corporate email called MobSoft.

The website is defunct,

but the company details list an Anton K.

Job listings, the numbers on it,

both match the PHP found in Koob.

(intense music)

Their names are cross-referenced with their

respective social media accounts,

and here they posted their vacation pictures.


Facebook doxes their full names and pictures.

They are dubbed Alibaba and 4.

And now in a rather anticlimactic peak,

the Koobface command and control centers simply go offline.

From that point on to our current day and age

Koobface's original command and control center

has never been reactivated.

Alibaba and 4 are off the grid.

(orchestral music)

And the zombie army

remains dormant.

(laughing and shouting)

(fast-paced music)

- Good evening, citizens of the metaverse

and welcome to the Electronic Simulation Showcase Show.

Today we're looking at the sports car of at-home

virtual reality hardware; the Roto chair.

This gaming chair is specially designed

to increase immersion in your favorite VR simulations.

Plug in your HMD cables into the grade A

cable management system.

When you turn your head in game, the motorized chair

will turn your entire body a full 360 degrees.

The Roto is equipped with double rumble motors

on the bottom and backsides, meaning every explosion,

every windstorm, will feel like you're actually there.


Comfort is the name of the game

when you're kicking back and watching a film,

flying through the vast cosmos,

or shooting your way to victory.

With full padding, it's like you're sitting

on an immersive cloud, ready to reach the depths

of the metaphysical simulation or

virtual, virtual, virtual, transconfigurational realities.

The Roto chair, the world's first interactive VR chair.

(upbeat music)

(ethereal music)

- [Kevin] I joined a bunch of phone phreakers

who were gathering for a party.

Something like two dozen people show up,

each one almost as much of a nerd

as the worst of a ham radio enthusiast.

The conversation inevitably gets around

to one of my favorite targets, COSMOS,

the Pacific telephone mission system that could

bestow so much power on any phreaker who could access it.

As we started talking,

I realized the building that houses COSMOS is nearby.

The guard is a young guy.

I say, "Hey, how you doing?

"We're out late. I work here.

"I wanted to show my friends where I work."

He says, "Sure, just sign in."

Doesn't even ask for an ID. Smooth.

We've been calling departments and analyzing

phone company operations for so long that we know

exactly where the COSMOS employees work, room 108.

A folder on the wall holds up sheets of paper

listing dial-up numbers for every wire center

in Southern California.

Armed with this list and log-in credentials,

I'd have the ability to control any phone line

in Pacific Telephone's Southern California service area.

- [Automated Voice] Hello.

- [Kevin] I can't believe our luck.

We should have left then,

but I spot a set of COSMOS manuals

and the temptation is irresistible.

I tell the guys, let's take the manuals to a copy shop,

run off a copy for each of us,

then return the manuals before people start

coming back to work in the morning.

It was the most stupid decision of my early life.

We drive around looking for a copy shop

but can't find one, it's 2:00 AM.

So I take the manuals home with me.

But I have a bad feeling about them,

so I throw it all in some trash bags

and give them to my accomplice.

Tell him to throw them away or something.

- [Narrator] An unknown teenager has hacked

a new network known as NORAD.

It's an organization that provides aerospace warning

and protection for North America.

And this kid infiltrated the system

just to have a look around.

The move is so bold that it inspires the film "War Games."

- Game, or is it real?

- Journalist John Markoff gets in touch with Kevin.

He wants him to be part of his new book

on hackers named "Cyberpunk."

He's gained a reputation as a master of social engineering.

It's the art of deceiving people and just sharing valuable

and confidential information for fraudulent purposes.

But he's not interested in the money on offer.

He wants to maintain a low profile

so he refuses to be part of the book,

much to the displeasure of John Markoff.

On a hot summer's day in L.A.,

Kevin pulls out the Stephen S. Wise Temple,

where he works as a receptionist.

In his rear view mirror, he thinks he sees

a group of three men following him

in a Ford Crown Victoria.

He pulls a U-turn and sure enough, they do the same.

Kevin speeds down the I-405 and the car races after him.

Suddenly one of the men places a cop car flasher

on the roof of the car and now the sirens are crying out.

Kevin pulls over. The officers rush up.

They scream. Kevin is dragged out, handcuffed.

His car is ransacked, but there's no signs of any bomb.

- [Kevin] You're not gonna find it.

- [Narrator] He's hauled to the station.

The officers don't find a logic bomb,

but they know about a crime Kevin committed.

A friend told the police everything.

He's sentenced 12 months in prison,

followed by three years of supervised release.

He sits in the courtroom, betrayed and alone.

His attorneys plead with a judge that his hacking is

an addiction rather than criminal behavior.

They say the young man needs help, not a prison cell.

Kevin rises and pleads his case to the judge.

By now he's a veteran in deception.

The judge agrees and orders that Kevin serve his sentence

in a halfway house for those with the compulsive disorders.

Kevin laughs as he's listening to the ruling.

He was arrested for tricking his way into a computer system,

and now he deceives the judge into thinking

that he's the victim of his own crimes.

It's a few weeks until supervised release ends

and the demon on his shoulder is whispering.

He starts learning about Pacific Bell,

a telephone company based in California.

An idea appears.

If he gets caught, he'll be sent to jail,

but if he doesn't then he'd have fooled the authorities

right under their noses.

(laughing and yelling)

Soon, he has all the passwords and credentials he needs

to take control of the company's voicemails.

(distorted female voice)

Kevin is on the run for two years.

He loses a hundred pounds.

When he learns that how a criminal walks

is the number one way they're recognized,

he puts pebbles in his shoes to change his stride.

He uses over a dozen different names.

His favorite is Eric Wise.

(mellow music)

He begins a crime spree that infiltrates

the world's biggest companies, Nokia, Fujitsu, etc.

The companies say the damage from the hacks totals

300 million US Fiat.

Kevin sips his coffee as he reads the paper

and suddenly a chill passes down his spine.

FBI agents take their positions

outside the house in California.

They see their target sitting inside,

burst in and draw their weapons.

And the man denies that he's Kevin Mitnick.

He's a Middle Eastern immigrant.

Doesn't even own a computer.

More than 2000 kilometers away in Seattle,

Kevin throws his paper to the ground,

his name emblazoned on the front page of the New York Times.

Kevin is adamant the stories and the articles are lies.

He never hacked into NORAD or wiretapped the NSA.

But if you believe Kevin, then you shouldn't trust anything

you've heard so far about Kevin.

He takes on mythical status overnight.

A little known prankster is now

public enemy number one of cyberspace.

Kevin walks the streets of Seattle in a daze.

Many of the passing faces on the sidewalk

seem to be staring straight back at him.

He hears the faint sound of a helicopter in the sky

and feels his heart beginning to thump.

No one seems to notice the helicopter,

but they do notice Kevin.

He hurries into the courtyard of an apartment complex

and uses the tall trees as cover,

peering through the leaves.

Kevin tosses a package into the bushes

and bursts into a full-on sprint.

He gets away.

But from what?

One of America's top cyber security experts is

finalizing plans to leave for a ski vacation the next day.

And suddenly his own computer is hacked.

His phone rings. (phone ringing)

- [Male Voice] Your security technique will be defeated.

Your technique is no good.

- [Narrator] To someone like him,

the attack and subsequent taunts are an act of war.

(suspenseful tones)

He sets up a series of stealth monitoring posts

and creates his own software to track the hacker.

He waits in silence until the alarm is triggered.

He traces the intruder to a computer modem

connected to a cellular telephone,

somewhere on the east coast.

A man steps out onto his balcony in Raleigh, North Carolina,

and suddenly a chill passes down his spine.

The FBI agents take their positions outside the house.

They see their target sitting inside.

Journalist John Markoff watches from the street.

The agents burst in and draw their weapons,

but find nothing.

The man furiously denies that he's Kevin Mitnick.

He's so convincing the FBI agents are about to leave,

but then an agent notices an old ski jacket in the cupboard.

He empties the pockets and out falls a pay stub.

Legacy Media pitches up their circus tents outside.

- Most wanted computer hacker is behind bars.

- [Narrator] Kevin shares one large holding cell

with 60 other inmates.

He doesn't eat for two days because the food isn't kosher.

Inside, all eyes are fixed on the defendant.

Kevin is charged with 14 counts of wire fraud,

eight counts of possession of unauthorized access devices,

interception of wire or electronic communications,

and causing damage to a computer.

When Kevin is led away from the court,

Tsutomu calls out from the front row.

Kevin looks back at his nemesis,

the one man who finally saw through

the lies and deceptions to find him.

He nods, says nothing, and walks away.

His appeals for bail are turned down by every single court

in the US, including the Supreme.

Kevin says the beefed up charges are an injustice

and his treatment is a denial of his constitutional rights.

But why won't anyone believe him?

He has one last idea,

but then a group of officers storm into the cell

and throw him into solitary confinement.

- Might change a lot of things in a negative way.

I mean, he's trying so hard to at least get a trial,

and then this comes up.

- [Man] Yahoo!

(somber music)

- [Narrator] Christmas Day passes without incident.

The hack on Yahoo was a hoax carried out

by members of the Free Kevin movement.

There was no logic bomb.

After four years of prison and solitary confinement,

Kevin pleads guilty to four counts of wire fraud,

two counts of computer fraud,

and one count of illegally intercepting

a wire communication.

- [Kevin] I didn't think of the consequences when I was

engaging in this behavior, I just did it.

I'd copy the code, store it on a computer,

and go right on to the next, without even reading the code.

And that, complete different motivation of somebody

who's really out for financial gain or a foreign country

or a competitor trying to obtain, you know,

information like economic espionage, for instance.

- You know, I hate to suggest the waste of your talent

but as I listen to you, I think you'd make a great lawyer.

- Well, I don't know, if you're convicted of a felony

if they'd allow you to be admitted to the bar.

- [Narrator] Kevin Mitnick is released from prison

after nearly five years.

When Kevin was on his crime spree, his hacking exploits

seemed like mythology to the outside world.

But by the time the sun hits his face,

the world needs his skills.

So soon after his release, he testifies before the Senate

and advises on how to better protect

computer systems from attacks.

(gentle music)

- [Davis] So I really like sleep.

And the thing that I do like about sleep

is that it's an alternate reality.

Nothing is impossible in sleep.

When you dream, you can fly and you can also die.

You can laugh and you can cry.

You can sing,

but you won't notice a thing because you're asleep.

I feel like sleep is a transportation to a new world

for eight or less hours, or maybe even more.

Sleep is very nice to have.

I feel like it's a privilege because some other people,

they don't have the access to sleep

because of things like insomnia.

So I feel like you should never take sleep for granted

because if you stay up,

I think you're gonna stay up for a long time.

Sleep is very good for the body

and it's awesome.

- [Robot Voice] I was disrupted,

ba doop boop bap ba deep boop.

The Description of Earth's Most Wanted Hacker